A short introduction to Dynamicweb PIM
Dynamicweb PIM is a Product Information Management system – a set of tools which allow you to manage all aspects of your product portfolio from one central location, before publishing them to various channels, e.g. Dynamicweb Ecommerce, desktop publishing software such as Adobe InDesign, and so on. This provides you with greater control over all aspects of the product lifecycle than more traditional Ecommerce setups.
With PIM you can easily organize cross-departmental processes such as:
- Adding essential product data like names, product numbers, descriptions, etc.
- Enriching products with technical data like weight, volume, stock states, and product units
- The localization and translation of products and product data
- Working with variants including the inheritance of field values and images from main products
- The publication of product data across multiple channels
In more practical terms, Dynamicweb PIM enables you to:
- Organize your product portfolio in warehouses and warehouse groups, or via dynamic queries
- Design and standardize internal processes using workflows
- Enrich the product portfolio using bulk-editing and other enrichment tools
- Publish content from the portfolio across built-in or custom-defined channels
Typical Data Flow
When a company decides to implement a PIM system in their organization, they typically do so out of a desire to obtain a better overview of and full control over all aspects of the product lifecycle (create/update/delete), especially optimizations to the product enrichment process.
A PIM system is typically used in conjunction with an ERP system like Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV, as this provides the desired control of the product lifecycle.
A typical data flow could look this:
- Products are created and organized in an external system with a minimum of information - e.g. a number and a name,
- Product data is imported to Dynamicweb PIM via the integration framework
- The products progress through one or more workflows and gradually enriched using a set of specialized tools
- The enriched products are published to one or more channels, e.g. a webshop, and Amazon shop, or somthing entirely custom
Of course, the data flow is heavily dependent on the setup and data which form the foundation of a PIM project - each new project must be thoroughly analyzed before starting work - read more in the Data Analysis & Setup article.
On a technical level, Dynamicweb PIM builds on two key technologies:
- The New Indexing engine is used to index and query the product portfolio
- The Integration Framework is used to import the product portfolio from remote systems, like Dynamics NAV or AX
However, while knowledge of these features is useful during the intial phases of a PIM project, it is perfectly possible to work as a content editor, translator, or a portfolio manager without it.
Interface & Dashboard
Like other areas of Dynamicweb, the interface for Dynamicweb PIM is accessed through the area menu (1) and consists of an area tree (2) and a content pane (3) (Figure 4.1).
The content pane is where content is rendered and interacted with – in this case, view modes for managing and enriching the product portfolio.
Via the area tree you can access the following:
- The PIM Dashboard
- Personal and shared queries
- PIM Warehouses and groups
- The Email notifications feature
You can read more about dashboards here – the rest of the features are described in this article.
Tip: All area trees can be refreshed by double-clicking on the button in the area menu.
Due to the extra server side workload of heavy image work inherent in PIM solutions, we strongly recommend having at least 12-16 GB RAM on Quad core servers. Furthermore you should be aware that disk IO will be at a premium, so for selfhosted solutions a fast SAN or SSD disks is required.
Setting up a PIM solution requires some knowledge of Dynamicweb Indexing and the Integration Framework during the configuration phase. It is perfectly possible to work with PIM without technical knowledge, however.