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Original Article by Earley Information Science Team.

In today’s fast paced business environment there is no time, money, or people to waste on reinventing anything you’ve already invented. Whether it is a US-based engineer looking for relevant CAD files created by a colleague in India, a product marketer hunting for material for a promotional campaign, or a customer browsing your online catalog – all the information about the products you sell should be readily available to whoever needs it, when and where they need it.

Product Data Management (PDM) is the process of sourcing and organizing data about your products—accurate and complete descriptions, technical specifications, images, related content, and more.

Within an organization there may be multiple systems associated with this process including ERP, MDM, PLM, PIM, and more. Too frequently, these systems are disconnected, slowing down the flow of information. Top performing brands understand that within these systems resides their most valuable company assets – the information about their products and the corporate knowledge related to their inner workings. To be competitive they find ways to leverage that information and make it work harder by investing in the information architecture that support seamless processes.

What is Product Data Management?

PDM software is closely related to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software and some consider PDM to be a subset of PLM. Some providers of PDM software include Dassault Systèmes, Synergis, and Stratasys. Other providers include PDM capabilities within PLM tools, such as AutoDesk. A PDM system is a beneficial tool that can help you create better designs, reduce errors and costs, and use resources effectively. It helps ensure there is a common understanding about a product through its lifecycle.

PDM also relates to master data management (MDM), which controls the usage of information throughout the enterprise. One of the main applications of MDM is in supporting a 360-degree-view of the customer as part of a strategic plan. This view provides insight into what customers are buying, which channels they’re purchasing from, and their household or relationships with other customers and prospects.

Another aspect of the PDM ecosystem is Product Information Management (PIM) which focuses on managing the product information needed to market and sell products through distribution channels. Providers of PIM software include Informatica, Agility Multichannel, Salsify, and Enterworks. Product information that is used in these distribution channels.

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