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When it comes to coordinating the organisation and management of a product company's data, whether it is a manufacturer or a retailer, confusion between PIM and MDM is common.

What are each of these systems and what are their main differences?

We help you to understand the role of each platform in the structure of your company.


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What is MDM?

MDM (Master Data Management) is a process of management oriented to the key data and master data of a business, from legal, financial and human resources documentation to product, commercial network or customer databases and other agents in the supply chain.

An MDM system is the technology used to gather, syndicate and keep in order all the data pertaining to these areas and make it accessible and accurate for anyone. Implementing an MDM is helpful as a company grows and expands in size with a network that involves more branches, channels, teams and external partners.

In reality, Master Data Management is not just a technology tool, but a process that encompasses all data management tasks, so it can work in conjunction with other types of systems that specialise in specific data sets, such as a CRM... or a PIM.


MDM vs PIM graph


PIM: MDM's faithful companion

A PIM (Product Information Management) system is the technology applied to product information management. This type of platform is therefore a branch of the MDM management process, key to delivering high quality product content in all marketing, sales and omni-channel actions.

The disadvantages of MDM? Primarily, they tend to be very expensive technology systems and lack product content expertise. So the complement of a PIM system is still a must for manufacturers and retailers, even if they have an MDM system.


Differences PIM and MDM systems


Main differences between PIM and MDM

Products vs. Enterprise

This is the most important difference.

As we have already mentioned, MDM is in charge of managing company data from very different areas, while PIM specialises in managing product data. In neither case does MDM have product information management functions.

Dealing with structuring, updating and shipping a product catalogue through MDM would be a very complicated and time-consuming process. PIM technology is focused on gathering, enriching, publishing and connecting product content, and is the key tool in an omni-channel strategy and in delivering the seamless shopping experience expected by the customer, whether retailer or end user.

On the other hand, an MDM system aims to standardise information regarding sales, production and catalogue areas, such as customers, warehouses, points of sale, distributors, wholesalers, employees... But its goal is to improve the organisation and efficiency of the company based on this data, not to improve the quality of the product catalogues.

External vs. internal data management

In very general terms, we could say that PIM manages data for external use, the product information that will be received by the end customer and published in different channels. MDM manages internal and private data.

However, in reality a good PIM system also facilitates internal management and therefore has a positive impact on the company's communication and the analysis of product impact and customer behaviour. PIM is therefore a vital tool for internal organisation, through workflows that can be customised, and for the external impression made by product data. 

Tackling the structure, update and delivery of a product catalogue through an MDM would be a very complicated and time-consuming process. PIM technology is focused on gathering, enriching, publishing and connecting product content, and is the key tool in an omni-channel strategy and in delivering the seamless shopping experience expected by the customer, whether retailer or end user.

Easy and agile system vs. costly and complex system

As we have already mentioned, MDM systems tend to be aimed at large corporations that have extensive sales networks, a large number of offices or sites in different locations, and a strategy that spans multiple markets and regions. For this reason, MDM is a technology with high fees and requires high technical expertise.

In contrast, PIM platforms are accessible to any company, team and professional, especially those such as Sales Layer created for product marketers. No complex technical knowledge or lengthy installation processes are required. Simple and customised onboarding allows you to start working with the data and enrich it almost instantly, so your ROI is very fast.

What do you need, a PIM system or an MDM system?

PIM and MDM are not opposing systems, but complementary to each other.

An MDM system helps the company to organise all its business data in a centralised and secure way. A PIM system allows you to automate the management of product information, create better workflows and ensure that content is always rich and up-to-date across all channels.

If you think your biggest problem right now is to control from which sources you receive product data, prepare it faster and send it instantly to channels such as websites, online shops, printed catalogues or marketplaces, then there is no question: a PIM is the system you need.

Remember that a PIM can be easily integrated with an MDM system and other software in your company, to ensure the data governance network you need.

Try it for free with Sales Layer to bring to your team the platform that helps your marketing strategy succeed while driving your business focus.


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