A PIM system has many different users. Excluding those who use the product information for reading purposes only, nearly every department in an organization often uses the PIM system in one way or another. The PIM system can in fact be used by the entire value chain:
- Suppliers may use it to add information about their products to customers’ PIM systems or update their prices and inventory levels.
- The procurement department in an organization may use the PIM system to store gathered product information such as prices, but also product quality criteria and contracts as agreed upon with suppliers.
- The R&D or design department may use the system to store CAD/CAM drawings, technical specifications of parts and other technical documentation created in the product development process.
- Marketing and sales usually add more commercial information which helps customers make an informed choice or have a better product experience. This may be factual information but also glossy product photos.
- Customer care may add complaints and frequently asked questions about the product which the product design department can use to improve the product itself or its documentation.
- Customers may add product reviews and photos and videos of how they use the product in real life.
The actual number of users may differ widely per company. The number of viewers may be huge if one of the channels is the company Web site. However, usually only a small group of people in a separate product information management unit is actually involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the product information. However, even this small group may add up to several hundreds of users if distributed across the entire value chain.