Implementing a strong product information management (PIM) solution is important for your business when it boils down to managing large amounts of complex product information and data points. This is because maintaining consistent product data across your sales channels is crucial to winning and maintaining customers. Two strong contenders in the PIM market in Pimcore and Akeneo. One provides PIM & MDM services, and the other mainly on PIM services.
This article compares both best-in-class platforms in-depth to help you decide which platform is best for you. Let’s dive in!
What is PIM & MDM?
PIM and master data management (MDM) are often mistaken as solutions that serve the same purpose. While they both manage data, the idea that they are the same isn't entirely true. So, what really is the difference? The answer lies behind the type of data being managed.
PIM primarily focuses on managing product information or data to ensure that it's accurate and consistent across all channels, helping in marketing and selling products effectively. On the other hand, MDM acts as a “jack of all trade” encompassing all critical data within an organization, ensuring it's accurate, consistent, and actionable.
While PIM is a subset of MDM, focusing only on product information, MDM is a more comprehensive solution that handles a wide array of data, including customer and supplier data, aiding in better decision-making and compliance.
Pimcore offers both PIM & MDM capabilities, while Akeneo focuses more on PIM and PXM.
What are the functions of PIM?
PIM is a system that helps businesses manage their product data. PIM systems can store, organize, and share product data across different departments and systems. PIM systems can also generate product catalogs, websites, and other marketing materials.
The key functions of PIM include:
Data centralization: PIM systems create a single source of truth for product data, which all authorized users across the business can access. This helps to ensure that everyone is working with the same data, which can reduce errors and improve efficiency.
Data enrichment: PIM systems can enrich product data with additional information, such as images, videos, and technical specifications. This enriched data can create more informative and engaging product descriptions and marketing materials.
Data syndication: PIM systems can syndicate product data to various channels, such as e-commerce websites, marketplaces, and social media. This helps businesses to reach their target customers wherever they are shopping.
What are the functions of MDM?
MDM is a set of processes and technologies for creating and maintaining a single, authoritative source of truth for all critical business data. MDM functions include:
Data integration and consolidation: MDM solutions collect data from disparate sources, such as ERP, CRM, and HR systems, and consolidate it into a single repository.
Data cleaning and enrichment: MDM solutions cleanse the data to remove inconsistencies and errors and enrich it with additional information, such as hierarchies, relationships, and attributes.
Data governance and compliance: MDM solutions establish policies and procedures for managing and controlling the data and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Data sharing and syndication: MDM solutions make the data available to other applications and systems and enable it to be shared with external partners.
Pimcore: An Overview
Pimcore is an open-source digital experience platform (DXP) that provides a unified solution for PIM, MDM, customer data platform (CDP), digital asset management (DAM), content management system (CMS), and digital commerce. It is designed to help businesses manage their digital data more efficiently and effectively and deliver “personalized” customer experiences across all channels.
Key Features and Capabilities
One thing we, as a PIM-focused technical agency, love about Pimcore is its open-source, all-in-one nature. As an open-source system, Pimcore stands as future-proof, allowing for multiple modifications and enhancements from external developers and contributors. Let’s look at some of its key features and capabilities:
Let's start with the PIM. Pimcore PIM offers powerful features such as data modeling and app integration. Let's look at some of its PIM, MDM, and DAM features.
Pimcore PIM Features
Data Modeling in Pimcore: Pimcore allows for creating simple to complex data models, supporting over 40 different data types. It's designed to efficiently manage millions of products, data, and links. The platform accommodates data in many languages, enabling operations in multiple markets and international teams. It also supports real-time data updating and customization, ensuring efficient organization of new and existing products.
Roles and Permissions: The system provides an extensive administration panel to manage all product data down to each individual record. It facilitates group editing and advanced user permissions, ensuring that employees have access only to the necessary data.
Workflow Management: Pimcore PIM facilitates the definition of business processes and the creation of information flow schemes using state definitions, actions, transitions, and notifications. This feature enables fast and efficient teamwork, allowing for better planning and tracking of product data management processes.
Data Quality Control: Pimcore PIM focuses on optimizing and improving product data management by maintaining high data quality through standardization, structuring, and enrichment. Features like field validation and data versioning are included alongside tools for information control, auditing, and reporting, which contribute to achieving complete, transparent, and consistent data.
Connect Anything Principle: Pimcore's architecture is based on a holistic API-based approach, enabling advanced two-way data exchange between different systems, whether internal (like ERP, CMR, or e-commerce systems) or external (like sales platforms or external partner systems.
Pimcore MDM Features
Advanced Rights Management: Pimcore offers out-of-the-box advanced rights management, facilitating system-wide roles and individual user permissions to control access to data. You can also configure customized layouts on a field-level granularity.
GUI-Based Data Modelling, Business Rules, and Workflows: Pimcore's GUI-based approach allows for configuration without coding, making it easy to set up data modeling, business rules, and workflows. This feature supports expansion to new data domains as requirements evolve.
Data Quality and Semantics: Pimcore MDM provides formatting for different kinds of data sets using industry best practices, business rules, unique tests, metadata, and machine learning to ensure high data quality.
Data Versioning: Pimcore MDM helps you track every action, like publications, deletions, or migrations to new versions, via a special scheduler, ensuring accurate tracking of updates across workflow stages.
Pimcore Audit Trail: The Audit Trail feature in Pimcore MDM provides a complete record of each workflow step in the workflow history, aiding in tracking and managing data processes over time. This feature enables a transparent view of changes and operations performed on data objects, documents, and assets within the workflow, supporting data maintenance processes and product information life cycles, among others.
Associating Rich Media Content: Pimcore MDM simplifies associating rich media content with master data, allowing the attachment of digital assets and rich content to structured data for engaging and simplified experiences.
Pimcore DAM Features
File Management: Pimcore DAM offers a robust central repository for storing digital assets and metadata, ensuring data is organized in a structured way. If you use Pimcore, you should already be familiar with core DAM concepts like multi-tabbing and contextual navigation, which expedite the managing and enriching of assets.
Image and Video Conversion: Pimcore DAM features include the ability to crop, resize, and add overlays and watermarks to over 120 image file formats. It can convert office document files into high-resolution bitmap images and transcode video bitrates and resolutions, facilitating media assets publishing in suitable formats across various channels.
Metadata Management: Pimcore's configurable and flexible metadata management system, along with a convenient tagging module, helps create meaningful and searchable asset collections. It supports storing and structuring various types of metadata in a centralized location.
Digital Asset Delivery: Pimcore DAM facilitates easy publishing of digital assets to desired output channels through Pimcore APIs and supports almost any Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver media assets to numerous channels or directly to consumers.
Enterprise Print Publishing: Pimcore DAM supports omnichannel database publishing and enterprise print (known as Web2Print), automating print processes for marketing and sales channels and creating personalized print-ready materials. It integrates with existing InDesign Client or InDesign Server-based Adobe Creative Cloud publishing workflows.
Advanced DAM features: Pimcore has also been working on integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning for enhanced customer experience and has added new features like VR/360° previews, facial recognition, and focal points in images
Other features of Pimcore include product data enrichment, multichannel publishing and more.
Pros and Cons of Pimcore
Let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of Pimcore:
Flexibility and Customizability: It's highly flexible and customizable, allowing developers to extend its functionalities easily. Users have also appreciated its ability to integrate with external services effortlessly.
Wide Range of Features: Pimcore covers a broad spectrum of digital transformation needs, from content management to digital asset management and more. It also supports a plethora of file formats and provides robust workflow management tools.
Developer-Friendly: Being based on well-known frameworks like Symfony, it's easy for experienced developers to work with Pimcore.
Positive User Ratings: The platform has received positive ratings on various review sites like G2 , Gartner, Capterra, and more, indicating general user satisfaction with its capabilities and features.
Learning Curve: Some users find Pimcore not very easy to use initially, indicating a learning curve, especially for those with bespoke solutions.
Update Challenges: Pimcore is evolving rapidly, which means updates can sometimes be challenging. Transitioning between different versions or frameworks can be somewhat painful, although the integration with the Symfony Framework is seen as a step towards more stability and easier updates in the future.
User Interface: Although the user interface is expected to improve with newer versions, some users find it could be more user-friendly.
Read more about Pimcore here.
Akeneo: An Overview
Akeneo is a cloud-based PIM and PXM system that helps businesses centralize, enrich, and distribute product data across all channels. It offers a wide range of features, including centralized product data management, product data enrichment, product data distribution, collaboration, workflow automation, and integrations. Akeneo PIM is used by a variety of businesses to improve product data quality and consistency, reduce time to market for new products, increase omnichannel sales, and improve customer satisfaction.
Key Features and Capabilities
Let's dive in and explain Akeneos PIM/PXM capabilities.
Akeneo PIM Features
Data Quality Management: Akeneo PIM comes with data quality management capabilities such as data cleansing, collection, versioning, and publication, which help in maintaining high data quality and avoiding duplication.
Edit and Translate: When data is imported into Akeneo, the process of editing or adding new products to the catalog is usually seamless. You can define attributes, fill out product sheets, and incorporate media, among other tasks. Also, with the help of extensions, translating product information into various languages is easy.
SaaS-Based Offering (For Growth Edition): Akeneo PIM Growth Edition is SaaS-based, allowing for quick setup, continuous updates, and improvements, relieving IT teams from hosting and infrastructure maintenance duties.
Akeneo Completeness Widget: The Akeneo Completeness Widget is a PIM feature that helps users gauge the completeness of product information within their catalog. It's essentially a tool designed to ensure that all necessary product data is provided before products are pushed to various channels like e-commerce platforms, print catalogs, or other marketing channels.
Rules Engine: With Akeneo PIM's rules engine, users can create customized automated processes and triggers. These rules can serve to categorize products based on their attributes or to translate technical data into more comprehensible information for customers.
Validation Workflows: Akeneo Validation Workflows is a feature designed to streamline the approval and validation process of product information before it gets published or shared across different channels. With this feature, you can create custom workflows, organize role-based approvals, automate checks, track statuses, and more.
Supplier Data Manager: Akeneo Supplier Data Manager is a cloud-based solution that helps retailers and distributors collect, enrich, and import supplier-provided product data into Akeneo PIM. It provides a simple, scalable, and collaborative way to onboard supplier data, ensuring that accurate and complete product information is shared efficiently.
Supplier Data Manager offers two ways for suppliers to submit product data:
Upload files: Suppliers can drag-and-drop their product data files into a dedicated portal.
Fill out templates: Retailers and distributors can create templates with guidelines for products and attributes. Suppliers can download the templates, fill them out, and re-upload them to the portal.
Akeneo Marketplace: Akeneo offers a comprehensive marketplace for multiple apps and connectors. You can find apps and connectors like: Akeneo Connector for Adobe Commerce/Magento (Enterprise Edition), SAP Adaptor, and more.
Shared Catalogs: Akeneo Shared Catalogs is a feature of the Akeneo PIM platform that allows businesses to share product information with their stakeholders in a secure and efficient way. Shared catalogs can be used to share information with internal teams, such as sales and marketing, or with external stakeholders, such as distributors and retailers.
Akeneo PXM Studio
Structured product information: Akeneo PXM Studio allows businesses to structure their product catalogs according to their specific requirements. This makes it easy to manage and enrich product data and to ensure that it is consistent and complete across all sales channels.
Data handling in the Connection Dashboard: Akeneo PXM Studio's Connection Dashboard provides a central location for managing all data connections. This makes it easy to add, edit, and remove data connections and to monitor the status of all data transfers.
Entities – enrichment by product specifications: Akeneo PXM Studio allows businesses to define entities, which are groups of product specifications that can enrich product data. This makes it easy to create and manage product data that is tailored to the specific needs of each sales channel.
Data Quality Insights: Akeneo PXM Studio's data quality insights features provide businesses with actionable insights into the quality of their product data.
Pros and cons of Akeneo
Let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of Akeneo:
User-Centric Design: Akeneo is often appreciated for its user-friendly features that are especially designed keeping the end-users in mind, which contributes to a better user experience.
Data Management and Quality: Effective data import, export, organization, and classification are some of the strong suits of Akeneo, ensuring data quality and consistency across different channels.
Product Asset Management: It provides robust product asset management capabilities, which are crucial for managing a plethora of product-related information efficiently.
Approval Workflow: The platform has been noted for its product approval and multi-tier workflow features, which are particularly beneficial for larger organizations.
Learning Curve: Some users find that certain features can be complicated to implement initially, requiring a period of acclimatization.
Table Attributes Limitation: The table attributes feature in Akeneo is limiting, which could potentially hinder some advanced data management tasks.
Access Rights and Product Segmentation: There are mentions of the challenges regarding access rights and product segmentation to different user groups, which might affect the ease of product management across various teams.
Read more about Akeneo here.
Feature Comparison: Similarities and Differences
Now that we have looked at the key features, pros, and cons of both solutions, let's compare their features and capabilities.
Data modeling and management
Pimcore is known for its flexibility in data modeling. It offers out-of-the-box data models that can be freely combined to construct scalable data models tailored for any industry. These models can also be exported and imported for reuse and sharing, aiding in streamlined data management across various organizational needs.
Akeneo emphasizes structured data modeling where product model data is organized and exported in a file with defined fields such as code, clothing_size, description, name, price, categories, family_variant, and parent, among others.
Product Information Management
Pimcore's PIM system is designed to centralize, organize, and distribute product information across all channels, acting as a central repository for all product data and enabling teams to manage, update, and share product information quickly. Pimcore also includes advanced rights management features out-of-the-box, providing system-wide roles combined with individual user permissions to control access to data. It also offers a customizable interface available in 20+ languages and field-level granularity in configurations.
Pimcore aims to harmonize marketing, sales, and technical product information by centralizing and managing digital data and integrating it easily into existing IT landscapes.
Similar to Pimcore, Akeneo's PIM solution also centralizes marketing data but places a strong emphasis on enriching, translating, and preparing data for exports to multiple channels. It's designed to be a productivity tool that helps contributors serve product information in different languages and for different purposes.
Digital Asset Management
Pimcore's DAM software centralizes all media assets, including images, graphics, documents, videos, and other media content, providing a consolidated platform for managing digital assets alongside other data management functionalities. The platform offers various features such as VR/360 images, automatic AI/ML face and hotspot recognition, image editing, versioning, tagging, and scheduling, making it a comprehensive solution for managing digital media assets. Pimcore's DAM leverages AI for tasks like image recognition, enhancing the management and utilization of digital assets. It is compatible with any amount of data and any file format, marking its enterprise readiness for managing digital media assets.
Akeneo doesn't have an integrated DAM like Pimcore, but it does have an asset manager functionality that could perform some basic DAM functions. Akeneo’s Asset Manager allows for contextualizing asset-related information, enabling different attribute values (descriptions, names, etc.), which can vary by locale and/or channel.
Pimcore provides a multi-channel CMS that makes it easy to publish content anywhere, growing your presence in the omnichannel world. You can utilize its RESTful or native PHP APIs for seamless connectivity to your digital platforms, such as web & mobile applications, and your existing IT infrastructures, such as ERP and CRM systems.
Pimcore's GraphQL API provides a flexible and powerful way to access and manage Pimcore data. It allows developers to create custom queries to retrieve the data they need and to format it in a way that best suits their needs. This makes the GraphQL API ideal for use in multichannel publishing applications.
The Web2Print module also makes it easy to create and publish print publications from Pimcore data. It offers a variety of features that make it easy to create print-ready PDFs, such as templates, variables, and conditional logic. The Web2Print module is ideal for creating a variety of print publications, such as product catalogs, brochures, and white papers. It can also create personalized print materials, such as direct mail campaigns.
Pimcore also partnered with Productsup to enhance product data syndication via a configurable API adapter. This integration makes multichannel commerce as seamless as possible, with brands being able to publish product data to 2,000+ channels and marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook, Walmart, and more.
Akeneo is a multi-channel e-commerce software with interesting multi-channel publishing features such as;
Automatic importing of product data from various existing systems such as ERPs, spreadsheets, and .csv files.
Product data exporting to various e-commerce platforms.
Automatic monitoring of product description, localization, and multi-media upload completeness.
Integration and Ecosystem
Integration Options for Pimcore
Let's look at the integration options for Pimcore.
General Integration: Pimcore is designed to integrate seamlessly into existing IT landscapes, tying together various data sources within an organization. This is facilitated through Enterprise Opensource technology powered by user-friendly APIs, enabling real-time search and data retrieval. Pimcore can acquire, manage, and share any digital data and can easily integrate into existing IT systems. Its API-driven, service-oriented architecture allows swift and seamless connections to third-party software, including ERP, CRM, BI, and more. Pimcore DataHub provides a low code platform for data delivery and consumption, allowing integration into other systems and services using the GraphQL query language.
Marketplace Integration: Pimcore marketplace integration is done via ProductsUP - which is a content syndication platform.
Integration Options for Akeneo
Let's look at the integration options for Akeneo.
eCommerce Platform Integration: Akeneo PIM system is designed to integrate with popular eCommerce platforms through various connectors, allowing easy dissemination of high-quality product information to eCommerce channels. Specific connectors are available for platforms like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce, and Shopify, facilitating seamless product catalog pushes and other integrations.
App Integration: Akeneo's open-source approach, alongside a vibrant ecosystem of partners, enables integration with a range of applications like ERPs, eCommerce storefronts, print catalogs, and online marketplaces using either off-the-shelf or custom connectors.
Third-Party Extensions and Plugins
Pimcore: Pimcore has a marketplace that hosts various extensions, such as an Export/Import extension for Pimcore Datahub and an Advanced Object Search bundle powered by Elasticsearch. It also supports third-party bundles through composer with a plugin API to enhance core features. A range of plugins and extensions are available on platforms like GitHub to further enhance Pimcore's core features.
Akeneo: Akeneo has an app store with connectors and extensions like the Akeneo WooCommerce WPML Integration for exporting product information to WooCommerce stores in multiple languages.
Community and Support
Pimcore: Pimcore has an open-source community edition with a well-established partner network and community support, including forums for sharing and learning within the Pimcore community. Pimcore also has an active developer community that users can engage with for free assistance, notably on platforms like GitHub. This community contributes to its open-source codebase and supports users of the Community version of Pimcore. Pimcore Technical Support offers the option to purchase fixed support hours from its software developers at any time, regardless of the license type. This support can be used for application support or advisory consultations. This makes professional support accessible even to users of the free Community version of Pimcore.
Akeneo: Akeneo has a robust community engagement with over 3,000 enthusiasts active on platforms like Slack, Twitter, and other online forums. This community contributes to its open-source code base and can be a helpful resource for users of the free Akeneo Community Edition. Akeneo technical support is more structured towards its paid license holders. Users of the paid license have access to Akeneo Enterprise Support, which entails a dedicated technical team to provide support daily right from the day of license purchase.
Pricing and Licensing
Community Edition: Free and open-source under the GPLv3 license, includes core features like PIM, MDM, CDP, DAM, DXP, CMS, and commerce functionalities.
Enterprise Edition: Paid plans offering additional enterprise features and services. Pimcore has a flat-fee licensing model with additional support and cloud hosting options. Please feel free to book a meeting with us so we can give you more insights into the associated costs.
Cloud Edition: Another paid offering providing cloud solutions with varying pricing.
Community Edition: Free, designed for small to medium-sized businesses, and includes basic product information management functionalities.
Growth Edition: Starts at $25K annually, designed for growing businesses, and includes streamlined catalog enrichment and digital asset management.
Enterprise Edition: Custom pricing intended for larger enterprises with more complex needs. It offers advanced catalog management, automation & governance, and robust asset management.
Scalability and Performance
Since both platforms have open source options, they are both scalable, and there are no limitations to how much scalability you can achieve. Think AI, ML, digital transformation, and more.
Security and Compliance
Backup and Disaster Recovery: Pimcore maintains backups of the Cloud Edition for the last 7 days as a part of their standard plans.
Content Security Policy: Pimcore provides a Content Security Policy handler to protect against attacks like Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and data injection by adding a Content-Security-Policy HTTP response header with nonce to every request in the Admin interface.
Authentication: Pimcore uses the Symfony Security Component to handle complex authentication/authorization scenarios.
GDPR Compliance: Pimcore offers tools and settings for GDPR compliance, emphasizing the protection of personal data and the privacy of EU citizens.
ISO 27001 Certification: Akeneo has achieved ISO 27001 certification, a management system covering processes, people, and tools aimed at protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. The certification covers activities and processes used to build, deliver, and maintain products dealing with client and partner data.
User and Permission Management: Provides features to set rights on assets, catalogs, imports, exports, and manage user roles, groups, and web API permissions
Akeno and Pimcore Comparison
Type of Software
Content Delivery Platform
Free community support paid SLAs
Free community support and paid SLAs
PHP, MySQL, MariaDB
PHP, ExtJS, MySQL,
Data quality and completeness verification
In the area of PIM, Pimcore and Akeneo are strong contenders, but the decision of which to choose lies on your business scale and needs. For instance, if you need a simple and fast way to manage your product data, Akeneo is the right choice for you. But if you are handling a complex project, let’s say a large e-commerce enterprise with countless product data points and SKUs, Pimcore is the right choice for you, as it comes in as a robust, all-in-one powerful PIM.
Sadly, Akeneo doesn’t come anywhere close to Pimcore, despite being a good and reliable PIM system.