We conquer

Michael, in 2014 Campudus launched its first standalone product - the sales content management platform YourShowroom. Soon after, you followed up with your next, major product, the PIM system GRUD. How did that come about?

The initial development phase started in 2014, when we were tasked with redesigning the website of a customer whose product range comprised around 56,000 product variants. The associated product data was previously managed and maintained by the customer itself in Excel tables. There were two options for integrating these huge amounts of data on the new website. The simplest solution would have been to provide all the data for the website via a content management system. However, this approach would have been quite time-consuming for the customer, who would have had to continue maintaining the data in Excel tables and uploading it manually to the CMS. We then decided on a much more efficient way with the connection of a PIM system. This means that the customer now has the option of maintaining all product data in a central system, which in turn automatically plays out the data to various channels.



Product Information Management System



At that time, there already were a lot of PIM providers on the market. Why did you decide to develop such a complex software in-house?

In the course of an initial potential analysis of existing PIM systems, we couldn’t identify any solution that would have convinced us in terms of configuration options, usability or user interface. In addition, we saw some PIM systems in use by other customers that were extremely sluggish, caused high costs for adjustments, and tended to frustrate employees. Consequently, the need for a new solution was also extremely high in these cases. So, the decision to develop our own highly flexible, generic PIM system was an obvious one.


The core
of digital
You have named your PIM system “GRUD”. What does it stand for?

The name GRUD was the idea of our former lead developer Alex and is an abbreviation for „Generic Relational Enterprise Database” (in German: Generische Relationale Unternehmensdatenbank).  Generic means that we developed our GRUD PIM in such a way that we can use and enhance product data of all industries in it.

Thus, it makes no difference whether the customer sells bicycles, solenoid valves, shoes, airplanes or food. Relational stands for the individual product relationship logic of each customer, which is mapped with the GRUD data schema. This is very individual and varies from industry to industry. Therefore, we sit down with each individual customer and create a customized blueprint of their product relations.

This ability to create a customer-specific data schema in our GRUD PIM with tables, columns and relations, and to flexibly expand and adapt it at any time, is precisely the decisive advantage of our solution. To come back to the customer with 56,000 product variants. Together with him, we specified the data schema in GRUD PIM in such a way that he himself only has to manage approximately 1,000 core product data in our PIM. GRUD-PIM independently creates all other 55,000 product variants based on the combination options specified in the data schema. The data schema grows with the customer and becomes more and more fine-granular and detailed over time. The result: complete product data.

How has GRUD developed in recent years and which direction should it take in the future?

Many of our customers sell their products globally, which is why we have a strong focus on multi-country and multi-language features, such as translation management and the integration of translation tools. Multi-country also means that customers offer different product ranges in different markets and provide different recipients, such as retailers, partners or subsidiaries, with corresponding product data. Therefore, in addition to powerful import or export functions, we have also built an API gateway that serves as middleware to connect all market participants to the GRUD PIM.  For example, retailers can query a predefined assortment directly from the manufacturers.

Another important topic that we have pushed forward strongly in recent years is automation. Corresponding features are, for example, the Preview Center, a release tool that handles the release processes between product managers and marketing, or the Export Center, which allows customers to put together customized exports.


Not to forget the launch of our bike specific PIM system VeloPIM. Based on our many years of experience in the bike industry, we have developed a GRUD version that is specifically geared to the needs of the bike sector. In addition, we actively advocate a stronger standardization of bicycle product data in the bike industry, so that all market participants in the industry have a common understanding and can significantly reduce their costs when exchanging data. The first successes are already visible with our new product Veloconnect Server. But that is another story.