PIM Audit - Why a Structured Analysis is Worthwhile

With a PIM audit, you optimize the use of your PIM software. The audit examines opportunities for more efficient use and optimization of your product data. After implementing our improvement suggestions, you will definitely get more out of your PIM solution – promised!

You have a PIM in use. The efficiency of your product data management has probably improved as a result. Perhaps your colleagues in the company are quite satisfied with the Product Information Management tool in use. Most likely, the quality of your product data has improved, seasonal transitions are easier, and you manage assets within the company more effectively.

Possibly, and this occurs less frequently, you are not entirely satisfied with the installation of your PIM. There may be some issues here and there, and you would appreciate suggestions for improvement. If you have been using your PIM for several years, there are probably a number of new functionalities that you haven't precisely analyzed in the course of your daily operations but would bring you significant benefits. All these reasons argue for taking a structured look at the installation of your PIM. This is done through an audit of your PIM – whether it's Akeneo, Eggheads, or another solution – it involves analyzing the current state in terms of opportunities for improvement and optimization. These opportunities almost always exist. Especially when an external assessment is made of the installation of complex software, the lack of blinders due to a certain operational blindness that inevitably creeps in over the years and is normal allows for the identification of optimization potentials.

This doesn't only concern the technology itself. It's also about how you have integrated your PIM into the organizational processes of your company. What were your original goals with the PIM? Have all the goals been achieved? Can you perhaps use the PIM for additional tasks? After all, the technological and economic environment of your company has changed significantly over the past years: there are now a greater number of marketplaces that need to be supplied with product data. Product texts can be generated automatically based on product data using tools like textengine or AX Semantics, and so on.

Audit of the Organizational PIM Environment

Master data maintenance is a real challenge for most companies. It is extremely important as soon as products are distributed through automated systems. If erroneous data is involved, it results in costs that eat up any profits. For this reason, it is important to systematically audit product data maintenance and the use of data around the PIM to improve data quality and identify efficiency potentials. Subdivision into the following three analysis areas makes sense:

  1. Birth of Products
  2. Maintenance of Product Data
  3. Derivation of Product Data

Products are usually born in IT systems nowadays. There are systems where the development of products takes place, often having a project number or project ID, and data is already captured. It is crucial that once captured data does not need to be entered multiple times. However, transmission errors can occur during this process. The audit examines these processes and provides suggestions for optimization. The product is typically born in an ERP system, where it receives an item number/SKU and an EAN.

The maintenance and quality assurance of product data then truly begin. In the PIM, the data is usually enriched. How is this done? Are your enrichment and translation processes optimal? Is it reasonable to generate certain values automatically? There may also be other systems that can provide processed product data.

Concerning the derivation of product data, as already noted, many systems have been added in recent years. This phase examines whether these target systems – be they marketplaces, product data aggregators, or standard systems like ETIM or eClass – are optimally connected.

Results of a PIM Audit of an Akeneo Installation by EIKONA Media

In general, systems for Product Information Management (PIM) operate similarly. However, they also have differences in various factors. Therefore, we explain here an audit approach for the Akeneo PIM, as conducted by EIKONA Media.

In the Akeneo PIM audit, all areas of the software are examined, starting with users, groups, and roles. The number of users and usage intensity provide insights into the nature of Akeneo PIM usage. Sometimes, during the Akeneo PIM audit, we also find that the setup of accounts was not consistent, potentially creating security vulnerabilities. Akeneo works with output channels, locale schemes, and currencies. Here, the necessity and meaningfulness are assessed. Regarding groups and categories, optimization potentials are usually more significant, as natural growth over time leads to a certain lack of clarity, which can be reduced through technical optimizations. The Akeneo PIM audit often reveals optimization potentials for product families and variants, as attributes in variant constructs are not set at the highest possible level. The optimization potentials discovered during the Akeneo PIM audits are most significant with attributes: Often, too many attributes are set—multiple where one would suffice. For newly set attributes, the type is often not selected correctly, occasionally leading to errors. An example here is text attributes that were set instead of simple selections—Boolean types. In Akeneo, there are also possibilities to set values through rules. In the Akeneo PIM audit, the meaningfulness and optimization potentials of these rules are examined. This also applies to reference data and entities.


The Positive Impacts of a PIM Audit

Companies and the environment in which they operate are constantly changing. Therefore, it is essential to periodically assess through a PIM audit whether adjustments should be made to your PIM solution. This presents potentials for cost reduction on one side and profit increase through the improvement of your data on the other side.