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PIM vs MDM: The Difference, And How They Complement Each Other

Written by Minal Kiani | Reviewed by Mobeen Ali

What is Master Data Management (MDM)?

Master Data Management or MDM can mean different things to each organization, depending on how they’re used in a database. An MDM typically refers to a framework of technologies that help to manage all information within a company. This information can include employee data, Customer Data, HR Entries, or Finance information. 

What is PIM?

A Product information management software or more commonly known as PIM software is a product-oriented software tool that allows organizations to centralize and enrich all of their product data to deliver accurate and compelling product descriptions and images in a globally scalable multi-channel marketing environment.

It provides a single source of truth for product data. PIM solutions make it easy to enrich product descriptions and images to ensure they look great on any e-commerce platform, website, marketplaces, and more. 

How do PIM and MDM differ?

The fundamental difference between Master Data Management and Product Information Management solutions comes from the needs that they each meet for an organization. 

A PIM system deals with all product data issues, such as accuracy, consistency, completeness, and syndication across online selling channels. Enterprises are constantly striving for a faster time-to-market in this evolving e-commerce environment, with faster product introductions, omni-channel enablement, and higher ROI. A PIM solution becomes a necessity when collaboration is required between vendors/suppliers and retailers, and there is no centralized system to carry this out. Manual management of data through spreadsheets, and communication from different areas causes major setbacks, giving rise to the need of an automated system. 

MDM systems are much broader than PIM systems as they focus on centralizing company-wide data of different entities. An MDM helps in enhancing agility and outcomes of business processes. It allows data to be analysed for better decision making, provides smarter data governance, and gives an overall view of company-wide data which helps improve customer relationships. This is beyond the scope of a PIM. 

However, because MDM is an enterprise-wide deployment covering several aspects of a business, it doesn’t cover a particular aspect in depth. Although product data is part of an MDM, it does not allow companies to manage their product information the way that a PIM does. Through an MDM, companies can’t ensure accurate, complete, and enriched product catalogs for omnichannel selling. This can only be done through PIMs as they specifically cater to such needs. 

So, where MDM provides organizations with a single data source for all information, it doesn’t enable product data optimization the way that a PIM does. PIM centralizes just product data for marketing and distribution purposes. PIM is, therefore, an easier and more useful implementation for sales and marketing teams, while MDM is a much larger database. This makes PIM a subset of MDM with a more focused purpose. 

Why should you use a PIM system over a MDM to optimize product data?

A PIM solution is the best way to enrich product data and descriptions. It removes the redundant and time-consuming manual tasks that are required when using spreadsheets to manage product information. PIM tools connect seamlessly to e-commerce platforms, online marketplaces, and other selling channels. 

Expanding into new markets and channels online is made easier with a PIM system in place, as you can connect your dashboards and export product data immediately. They can be useful to marketers, e-commerce and product managers, as well as buyers looking for richer product descriptions and complete catalogs online. 

PIM systems are much faster to implement compared to MDM, and deliver business value much sooner. To catch up with the extraordinary growth in omni channel selling and speeding up the time-to-market for your products, it’s essential you have a PIM solution in place. A PIM has the ability to syndicate product information to various customer touchpoints. PIM solutions can carry out product data optimisation on a global scale, improving the customer experience. 

Can MDM PIM systems go hand in hand?

Depending on an organization’s size of operations, they can use a MDM PIM to work simultaneously. In such a use case, the PIM will optimise product data for multiple customer touchpoints, while the MDM strategies can help develop relationships among customers, products, vendors, and retailers, and analyse these overtime. The Product MDM will allow for better analysis and forecasting to achieve supply chain efficiency. 

While PIM and MDM are heavily related, they’re not the same. If you have difficulty managing your data to make data-driven decisions, implementing both a PIM and MDM system will clean all of this up. They will feed off each other to ensure your brand is unified no matter where your customers see your branding.

However, combining these two systems may not always be ideal as there will always be certain data sets that won’t be part of the product MDM, and will be dispersed across other systems. Therefore, it won’t sufficiently meet requirements of marketing teams that require speed, efficiency, accuracy, and consistency in product data at all times. 

Want more information on what a PIM does, and how it can help your business? Book a demo

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PIM a subset of MDM?

PIM is a subset of MDM because it only deals with managing product data. This data includes things like product name, price, description, etc. MDM, however, deals with managing all types of data, not just product data. This can include customer data, employee data, financial data, etc.

While PIM only manages product data, this data is critical for e-commerce businesses. After all, without accurate and up-to-date product information, customers would have difficulty finding what they’re looking for on your website or making purchase decisions.

What is product MDM?

Product MDM is an e-commerce software that helps businesses manage their product data. It can help businesses with tasks such as creating and managing product catalogs, sharing product data across departments and systems, and providing accurate product information to customers. Product MDM can also help businesses improve customer experience, reduce operational costs, and increase sales.

What do you mean by PIM?

PIM, or product information management, is a type of e-commerce software that helps businesses manage their product data. PIM systems store, catalog, and distribute product information across multiple channels.

PIM software is essential for businesses that sell products online. A PIM system can help you keep track of your inventory, manage your product descriptions, and even create marketing collateral.

What is the function of a PIM?

In e-commerce, a PIM is a product information manager. Its function is to centralize and manage product data to be distributed efficiently and accurately to multiple channels.
A PIM system helps reduce the time and costs of managing product data. It also increases accuracy and consistency by providing a single source of truth for product information.

What does MDM stand for e-commerce?

MDM stands for Master Data Management. MDM is a system that stores and maintains data in a central location. MDM is used to manage customers, products, and other data types. MDM is essential for e-commerce because it helps businesses keep track of their data and ensure that it is accurate. MDM key can also help businesses share data between different departments and systems.

Written by Minal Kiani

Minal Kiani is a Content Marketing Specialist at Apimio Inc. She's an expert writer in Business and Product Information Management.

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