Such is the case with Product Information Management or PIM systems. When a company manufactures or sells a product, data from a PIM are used to keep track of every aspect, from colors, size variants, and part numbers to serial numbers, optional accessories, and specifications. Each item, known as a Stock Keeping Unit or SKU, also has pricing information, inventory levels and locations, manufacturing details, and a host of marketing data. The latter, usually product descriptions, photos, and even videos, are kept in a separate but somehow related database called a Digital Asset Management or DAM system.
That’s a lot of data. For each SKU, there may be dozens or even hundreds of data points. Usually, these not all in the same database but spread over several related but very different systems. Each has its own, important business purpose and each much share information in order to manage that particular product. One particular department – product marketing – must access almost everything related to a particular SKU.
Now, multiply that problem by 400,000.
Home improvement retail giant Lowe’s handles that number of products and more, selling them from any of its 2,000 stores – plus its online sales portal. To market this vast array of products successfully, the company must find a way to leverage millions of data combinations – and do so in a way that guides the shopper to just the right product at just the right price.