PIM vs. ERP - How Are Both Systems Different?

When it comes to business management systems, you might wonder whether a PIM or ERP system is right for you. These two systems are quite different, and each has its own advantages.

Many businesses face this challenge, primarily when both can be used to support the same function. There's a lot to consider.

To help you make the best decision for your business, we've put together a guide explaining the key differences between product information management (PIM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. By the end of this guide, you'll have a better understanding of where each system fits in your business.

So let's dive in and learn the difference between PIM and ERP!

What is an ERP?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is designed to automate many back-office processes, including human resources and IT. There's no denying that enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can be a significant game-changer for businesses, large and small. By automating various back-office tasks, from human resources to IT, ERP software can help improve efficiency and remove operational silos. 

The best thing is that it also integrates everything from sales and marketing to product planning under a single umbrella and makes it available at your fingertips. Most ERP platforms out there are designed for larger businesses and enterprises. But, there are also ERP platforms designed explicitly for small businesses. These small business ERP platforms are usually customized for different industries, which makes them more user-friendly for smaller firms. 

What is a PIM?

PIM software is like a control center for your product information. It helps you see everything in one place and ensure it's accurate before it goes out to customers. A good PIM will help you manage old and new processes, make more sales, and keep your brand looking consistent across all the different ways people find you online.

Let's understand with a better example;

If you have a business that sells products to multiple locations worldwide, you need to tailor your product descriptions to fit the language or their needs. And if you have a myriad of products sitting on your shelf, customizing everything will cost your time and effort.

 PIM takes this messy work from your plate. It's a central repository for product information. This information includes product descriptions, videos, and images that can be used by marketing professionals and transferred to channels that customers view. 

By following best practices for PIMs, businesses can ensure that their product information is valuable and accessible.

Features Comparison: PIM Vs. ERP 

Having a PIM or ERP system is like having a centralized brain for your business. All the essential data is in one place and can be easily accessed by anyone who needs it. This increased collaboration and efficiency means that tasks can be automated, workflows streamlined, and everyone uses the same user interface.

Even though both management systems can help make things more efficient and provide a way for your teams to work together, they're still different regarding specific features. 

Let's analyze them. 

Features of ERP 

Cross-Departmental Collaboration

Business units and processes that are interconnected can communicate with each other seamlessly to get things done with the help of an ERP system. 

For example, a credit check is automatically initiated when a customer orders a new product. Then, the system checks to see if the product is available and updates the distribution schedule. Lastly, an invoice is sent to the customer after the product has been shipped.

Accounting

 ERP accounting features help you track, store, and analyze important financial data points, like accounts payable and accounts receivable, so you can always understand your company's financial health. 

Not to mention, ERP systems can take care of more complex tasks- like tax management and revenue recognition- that would typically slow down your month-end close. In other words: ERP accounting features save you time and help you close out your monthly financial statements quicker. That's crucial for companies who want to move to continuous month-end closes.

Customer Relationship Management 

ERP systems with CRM features help businesses get a more holistic view of their operations. All data related to customer relationships—including contacts, order history, purchase orders, and prospect status—is stored in a shared database that everyone can access. 

With this, companies can automate tasks such as generating POs and accounts receivable reminders and sending sales executives notifications when prospects reach specific pipeline points.

Features of PIM 

Data Management 

By consolidating data into a single source, PIM promises superior product information. This reliable information forms the basis of all enterprise commerce endeavors and ensures high data quality, accuracy, consistency, and completeness.

Customisability 

A modern Product Information Management (PIM) system can help you keep your processes and data organized while being flexible enough to adapt to future requirements. 

For example, if you need to adjust your catalogs or expand into a new market, the PIM system can be quickly customized to fit your needs. This includes features like import/export, data management, and UI personalization.

Content Analysis 

A quality PIM will offer analytics that is easy to understand and interpret so that you can take action quickly. Monitoring your product's performance online has a host of benefits, including seeing which products are well-represented and which ones may need some attention. 

Easy-to-read analytics allow you to see precisely what actions need to be taken to improve your product's performance.

Benefits Comparison: PIM Vs. ERP 

Without any second guess, both systems offer multiple benefits to the end users. But, there are many differences between these two technologies that make them different from each other.

Here are some of the benefits that distinguish both systems. 

Benefits of ERP 

Boosts Productivity 

ERP enables organizations to get much more done with the same amount of resources or even fewer resources. In other words, businesses can save time and money by automating processes.

Better Insights 

Gaining more profound insights into your business value chain can help you find answers to mission-critical needs and prepare for the future. With complete visibility across the value chain, you can quickly identify issues and opportunities and make informed decisions to help your business succeed.

Reduced Risk 

Companies that have synchronized operations tend to see better results across various departments. This is because with everyone working together, there is better control over the company as a whole. 

Benefits Of PIM 

Speed Up Your Launch

As the PIM system removes the repetitive tasks in product management, you can get your products to the market efficiently for better returns. 

Omnichannel Commerce 

PIM helps you distribute consistent product information across every possible channel. This way, enterprises can ensure that customers have a seamless buying experience no matter their touchpoint.

Spread Your Reach 

As PIM helps you spread your product in every possible way that appeals to all the users, you can reach more potential customers spread across the world with less effort. 

Can PIM ERP Work Together?

ERP and PIM systems can definitely work together well. ERP systems track lots of information points about different resources within a company, such as stock levels, customer details, warehouse locations, and prices. 

They're designed to track the movement of products within an organization until they're sold. However, ERP systems have a different way of viewing products than marketing departments do. Marketing departments always look for vivid product descriptions and imagery to make products appealing.

This is where the PIM comes in. A PIM system is a product information management system that helps to take in product information from an ERP system and other sources. It then enriches it to make it more marketing and sales-friendly. 

This includes adding things like,

1. Product descriptions, 

2. Technical manuals, 

3. Weight/color/dimension information, 

4. Instructional videos/information, 

5. Product images and videos, 

6. Version information, 

7. Taxonomy, and 

8. Metadata. 

In other words, it helps to connect all relevant product information across multiple channels to be consistent, accurate, and appealing. A PIM system can also help enterprises simultaneously market their products in numerous languages across geographical locations.

Verdict 

Having a PIM system in place can help give your business a boost when it comes to sales and online conversion rates. PIM systems can perform a variety of functions that can help streamline all of your product data into one central database. This gives you a significant advantage over ERP systems, which are not as diversified in functionality.

But how will you select the best PIM software for your business? Before investing in any PIM software, you have to investigate your requirements. You have to see what the software can do, how it will help you, and if it fits your business needs.

The platform should have multiple features like data modeling, digital asset management, content governance, and the list go on. If you need a one-stop solution that serves all these purposes, Supplysail is your best bet! Want to get started with the best PIM out there? Request a free demo to get started.  

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