Building on the convergence of several factors, retail radio-frequency ID mandates and state and federal data-sharing requirements, for example, a 2-year-old software category, PIM, is coming into its own.
Until recently, discussions about Product Information Management started with a description of the technology: a single repository for product-related information, coupled with BPM (business process management) technology. Now, with compliance mandates combined with the need for better management of product information, PIM developers such as IBM and FullTilt Solutions Inc. are seeing an uptick in their business.
"Where were heading this year is doing a lot of basic PIM building," said Robert Moyer, founder and president of FullTilt, in Wayne, Pa. "Were doing a lot around autonomic association of products based on attribute values."
Expected with FullTilts next PIM platform later this year is new functionality to create product associations that let users automatically classify information, such as replacements in a BOM (Bill of Material), said Moyer.
FullTilt is also working to expand information sources to encompass overall trading-partner functionality.
"Distributors, suppliers and [products]—we provide functionality around that today," said Moyer. "But were going to provide all that for supplier information as well, moving toward a master data management application."
The companys Trading Partner Information Management solution is expected toward the end of the year. In the meantime, FullTilt will focus on providing the ability to scale its software, with the ability to import and export larger stores of product information, according to Moyer.
IBM is likewise focusing on scale, both in its product capabilities and customer base. The company set a goal of 100 percent increase in revenues over last year when it acquired its PIM capabilities with the purchase of Trigo Technologies Inc.
IBM also plans to extend its vertical reach by moving aggressively into automotive and pharmaceutical markets, areas where PIM has been identified as a key technology.
"We work with all kinds of partners, whether its application companies looking to build on top of [IBMs offering] or system integrators to help bring technology," said a spokesperson at IBM, in Armonk, N.Y. "Theyre very important to our strategy to be the backbone for PIM."
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