Checklist - free PDFPre-implementation analysis -100 questions to a perfect PIM

Pre-implementation analysis. Answer a few questions before implementing a PIM system

If you are in the distribution or manufacturing industry, implementing a PIM system is crucial to streamline your key business processes. Conducting a thorough analysis before starting such significant projects is highly recommended.

Pre-implementation analysis, one of the outcomes of which is a functional project, is a set of activities performed at the IT project preparation stage.

Its main objective is to translate business ideas into technological requirements. In other words, it is a specification of all the work required to successfully implement a given product.

Any activity, whether implementing a new system or adapting an existing one, requires a phase of analysis. However, many business owners and service providers underestimate its importance.

For Clients, this is often an unnecessary activity that adds cost and little value to the project. Entrepreneurs often say, "I’ve chosen an experienced provider, so they should know how to do their job."

To sum up: To ensure a smooth implementation phase in project management, it is essential to conduct a pre-implementation analysis. By doing so, service providers can fully understand their Clients' expectations and deliver accordingly. This gives the business confidence that the outcome will fully meet its requirements.


Why is the pre-implementation analysis a vital part of implementing a PIM system?

We know from experience that there have been projects that, after a technological analysis, turned out to be impossible, or their implementation would involve considerable risk, for example, due to problems with the old system, technical debt, and lack of up-to-date license or support for a given system. There were times when the available budget was insufficient to implement the system to the extent the Client expected.

This is why defining the project, its scope, success measures, and associated risks is so important. It will help to eliminate potential mistakes as quickly and effectively as possible and to understand the Client's needs. Without this stage, one risks that the implemented solution will not be in line with business expectations.


How to prepare for pre-implementation analysis?

After outlining what the project aims to achieve, we move on to the key analysis conducted when meeting with the Client.

Business analysis can help you answer questions such as

  • What are the company's bottlenecks?
  • What does the business need?
  • Which processes need to be optimised and automated?
  • What is the average time and cost of each process in the organisation?

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Pre-implementation analysis - what, when and how?

 

Stage 1 – Product offer structure

To start analysing needs, it is necessary to define the structure of the customer's product offering to know how to introduce it into the PIM system. It helps you determine what functionality you need and what could be integrated later.

Stage 2 – Definition of requirements

This part presents the implementation concept and a complete description of the designed system. It includes: Functional requirements define and describe all the functions the system should provide and how the system should act in specific situations.

The purpose of this section is to describe the system's general vision, the objectives it intends to achieve, and how it will be created. Non-functional requirements, so limits and standards that the system is to meet. These include performance, availability, reliability, security, scalability, and regulatory issues.

Step 3 – Description of modules and information architecture

At this stage, it is necessary to clarify the information from two points of view:

  • System operation - requirements relating to the efficiency, performance, reliability and scalability of the system,
  • Architecture of integration with other systems.

Step 4 – Define user's roles and processes in the system

For e-commerce systems, defining users and their roles is critical. It makes it possible to understand and correctly describe the access paths and the people using them.


PIM system implementation strategy – what questions should you answer?

Strategy development is one of the most critical elements of project implementation. A well-prepared plan will help you to participate in the pre-implementation analysis effectively. This way, you can be sure that the service provider understands your business needs and can customise the PIM system and its functionalities.


In other words, strategy is the middle ground between where a company is and where it wants to be. Your plan should involve the entire team, including implementation experts.

The strategies vary depending on the objectives of businesses. If you are a retailer, you want to create the best customer experience; if you are a manufacturer, you can strive to get the best quality data so that no retailer will exclude you from their business.

Here are some of the steps you can take to develop a good PIM strategy:

Identify the conditions and business environment:

  • What industry does your company operate in, and what are the characteristics of industry-specific products? What makes you different from the competition?
  • What is the purpose of implementing the PIM system?
  • What kind of problems is the PIM implementation supposed to solve?
  • In which areas do you need help? Are there people in your organisation responsible for managing the server environment, managing the data?
  • What do you expect from the implementation?
  • Have you identified system users?

Develop organisational conditions:

  • What are your expectations of the supplier? What is your vision of the collaboration?
  • What are the criteria for choosing PIM software?
  • When would you like to start the work, and when would you like to have the system up and running?
  • What is your budget?
  • Have you chosen decision-makers for different stages of the project?
  • Do you plan additional training for staff to use and manage PIM?

Clarify product information:

  • How many indices does your company offer?
  • How many good groups do you divide your products into?
  • How many languages is your product offer in? If more than one, what has the translation process been like so far?
  • How has the product base been managed so far? How many employees participated in this process? What were the responsibilities of each of them?
  • How often do you update your product data?
  • How often do you add new products to your offer?
  • Into which systems do you want to import the product information from the PIM system?
  • In what format will they be distributed?

Identify data sources and migrations:

  • Where do you currently store product information? How is it processed? List all systems and locations.
  • Describe the data stored in the above systems (scope of information, management method, completeness of data from a single product point of view, data storage format).
  • What kind of data do you need to synchronise with the PIM system?
  • From which systems will one-time data migration to the PIM system be required?
  • Is it possible that product information from two different systems will overlap during synchronisation? If so, which system will have higher priority?
  • What data will need to be migrated?
  • Do you have documentation that allows you to analyse, synchronise and migrate your data?

Want to know more about implementating PIM systems? Download our free guidebook 



Conclusions

When implementing PIM systems, seeking advice from IT experts and collaborating across different companies may be sufficient for simpler projects. However, for large and complex projects, conducting a pre-implementation analysis is not just important, but crucial and standard practice.

When it comes to implementing PIM systems, specialist support can never replace a properly conducted pre-implementation analysis that guarantees the correct implementation of projects.

On the one hand, you can realistically shorten the time needed, find out the actual costs and obtain a delivery guarantee from the service provider. After all, it is a person who has analysed your needs. On the other hand, the contractor can plan the implementation according to the way you want to work. Thanks to the analysis, the quality of the collaboration can be completely different.

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