Do you find yourself frustrated from working with Excel? Has the constant search for technical documentation and product images left you feeling completely exhausted? Or have you noticed errors in the specifications on your website without anyone monitoring the data completion process? The solution to these obstacles is the implementation of a robust PIM (product information management) that will serve as the central database for all your products.
Once you've examined and compared all the available solutions in the market, you're already convinced that Akeneo not only meets your expectations but also offers a user-friendly interface and valuable features. Typically, during the first meeting with the team, a significant question that often arises is: how much will it cost to implement Akeneo.
Cost drivers for implementing Akeneo PIM: what to consider?
The business requirements we define for the PIM system play a significant role in determining the implementation cost:
- Are there any specific functionality requirements in our organization that are not currently supported by Akeneo?
- How many integrations will be necessary to maintain a consistent data flow?
- How much automation do we intend to incorporate?
With an increasing number of business requirements that involve programming, modifications to the core system (for building custom functionality), or establishing data flows between multiple systems (integrations), the implementation cost escalates accordingly.
Akeneo License and Hosting
There are three available options to access the Akeneo system:
- Community Edition (CE) - a free and open-source version
- Growth Edition - a paid license offering enhanced functionalities compared to CE, including server and Akeneo support
- Enterprise Edition (EE Saas/Paas) - a paid license providing the most comprehensive feature set, which includes server, training, and Akeneo support.
For a detailed comparison of the functionalities available in each license, please refer to the manufacturer's website.
Due to the notable differences among licenses, the decision-making process of choosing the appropriate solution is made easier through a pre-implementation analysis carried out by a deployment partner. The cost and duration of the analysis are determined by the project's complexity, with an estimated range of 5 000 EUR to 9 000 EUR. As part of the analysis, the team defines requirements, designs new information flow schemes within the organization, and determines the system version as well as license that will best fit your business needs.
The hosting of the system also impacts the implementation cost. With the CE version, the client is responsible for installing the system on their own servers, which incurs maintenance costs. On the other hand, for the Growth Edition and Enterprise Edition, the system is hosted on Akeneo servers, ensuring system security (with the hosting fee included in the license cost).
The decision regarding the license has a significant influence on the expenses associated with implementing the system in an organization. While the absence of additional fees makes the Community Edition version very attractive, organizations are often convinced to choose the Enterprise license due to its enhanced functionalities, enabling them to fully leverage the potential of the tool. It is crucial to recognize that the implementation cost of Akeneo PIM in the CE version is not solely limited to hosting expenses. There are additional costs involved, including data structuring within the PIM, integration with other systems, support of the implementation partner, training, testing, and post-implementation assistance.
Complexity and Volume of Data
A very large number of different products, categories, and dependencies between them, a significant amount of product-related data, a wide range of technical documentation and multimedia files associated with products – all of these factors can have a significant influence on the rise in implementation expenses. This is especially evident during the planning and development of the system's structure, as well as during the initial data migration phase.
The proper organization of channels, families, categories, and product attributes within the system is essential for maximizing the benefits of Akeneo. Investing additional time in the system design phase to ensure proper data structuring is valuable. This will have an impact on future integrations with other systems and the ability to navigate data within Akeneo. A properly designed system guarantees efficient utilization of Akeneo's capabilities such as tracking data completeness, ensuring data accuracy, and utilizing bulk actions.
If it is already clear from the beginning that the PIM system should be integrated with other systems such as ERP, CMS, e-commerce platform, it should be noted that the implementation cost will increase with each integration. Depending on the technology we intend to integrate Akeneo with, integration costs may differ. Ready-made plugins are already available in the market that facilitate the integration, for example between Akeneo and Magento. The cost of using such a plugin is considerably lower compared to developing a custom integration from scratch.
However, clients often have customized, non-standard systems that require developing a dedicated integration or building a middleware (an external application enabling data flow between systems) to integrate with PIM. In such instances, the implementation cost increases.
Engaging Akeneo Partner for Implementation
What strategies can be employed to implement the system efficiently and arrange data in a coherent manner that aligns to Akeneo's principles? What are these families exactly? And categories? Why does an attribute need to be part of an attribute group? What is the distinction between permissions and roles in the system?
Self-implementing the Akeneo system can present significant challenges, and it's easy to make a mistake right from the start that can have a direct impact on the satisfaction of end-users and lead to integration difficulties. However, once Akeneo is already integrated with other systems, it becomes difficult to revisit the design stage.
Mainly due to this factor, many companies decide to collaborate with an implementation partner who possesses the expertise, product knowledge, and understanding of diverse business scenarios, enabling them to effectively deploy the Akeneo system. Partnering with an implementation specialist guarantees the necessary security measures for such projects. Given that we are dealing with product data, where the correctness and quality significantly impact customer satisfaction, the expertise of a technology partner becomes crucial. Having a skilled development team familiar with the specificities of Akeneo, the implementation partner holds the necessary expertise to establish seamless integrations between Akeneo and other systems.
When organizations assess the cost of implementing and integrating the Akeneo system internally versus partnering with an implementation partner, they often choose the latter due to the lower associated costs.
Availability of Resources and Data Migration
In an organization, the implementation of the system is commonly managed by a Product Owner and a team that will be actively using the system and influencing the product presentation. The availability and commitment of the client's implementation team are crucial for the success of the project and have a tangible influence on the overall outcome. When the dedicated team can allocate enough time to collaborate with the implementation partner and the necessary files for structuring the data in the system are provided on time, the implementation costs will decrease as the implementation time will be shorter. However, there are situations when the priority for PIM system implementation is not sufficiently high, resulting in project delays and requiring the extended engagement of the implementation partner.
The client's implementation team also plays a vital role in the data migration process. Before implementing the PIM system, product documentation is typically dispersed in different places: folders, Excel files, employees' disks. Therefore, the gathering of data in the format required by Akeneo and importing it into the PIM system becomes a time-consuming stage. The implementation partner supports this process with various automations, yet a significant part of the tasks lies with the individuals who need to aggregate the data within their organization. Proper resource planning for this project phase will result in a faster and shorter implementation timeline, leading to cost reductions.
Training has a crucial role in the successful implementation of PIM in an organization, as it equips the individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively utilize the system. In many cases, the project budget includes training sessions conducted by the implementation partner, who guides step by step on how to use the system's functionalities and maximize its potential. If the organization requires in-depth training for administrators, users, developers, it affects the overall cost of implementing the system.
When discussing the implementation costs of a system, do not forget about post-implementation support. You should bear in mind that implementation is just one part of the overall process. Other aspects that require attention include:
- system maintenance;
- monitoring integration;
- error handling;
- technical support for system modifications;
- expanding the system: adding new attributes, families, rules, etc.
Considering the complex nature of the PIM system, it is highly recommended to proceed from the implementation phase to the maintenance phase while keeping a constant connection with the implementation partner. As the system begins to operate within the organization, users will have inquiries and the onboarding of new employees will be necessary. In light of this, the partnership and continuous support of the technology partner for the implemented Akeneo system will be of utmost importance.
Approximate implementation costs
By showcasing two client scenarios aligned with the factors discussed in this article, we aim to provide an estimate of the Akeneo implementation costs. Please bear in mind that these are hypothetical cases, and the mentioned amounts are rough estimates meant to give you a general idea of the cost spectrum. The evaluation of implementation costs takes into account a wide range of factors, and a precise cost estimation should be based on a comprehensive pre-implementation analysis that encompasses all aspects of integrating Akeneo PIM into the organization.
To sum up, the implementation cost of Akeneo PIM is influenced by multiple factors and the specific requirements of the system. It is crucial to understand that implementing Akeneo PIM can enhance and streamline various processes in the organization, resulting in long-term benefits, including:
- reduced time and effort spent on compiling product data;
- accelerated time-to-market for products;
- elimination of errors in product descriptions, leading to a reduction in customer complaints;
- improved quality of specifications, contributing to increased sales;
- real impact on customer experience.
The implementation of Akeneo PIM often marks a significant milestone for businesses. It provides a centralized repository for data aggregation and brings much-needed organization and accessibility to product managers who can access the information and resources they need. Akeneo PIM becomes the primary source of product information, distributing it to various channels such as online stores, CMS, print catalogs, and more. Estimating the costs of implementing Akeneo PIM relies on crucial elements such as allocating resources, selecting the right implementation partner, accurately estimating the required implementation timeframe, and defining the scope of functionalities that users will utilize. These fundamental areas contribute to an accurate cost estimation for the implementation process.