DAM & PIM Integration is Just the End of the Beginning
The boundaries of product information are about to change dramatically due to regulation emerging from the European Union. Integrating digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) systems—or buying a combined DAM + PIM—will be the end of the beginning.
The EU Digital Product Passport (DPP), set to be implemented in 2026, is intended “…to support sustainable production, to enable the transition to circular economy, to provide new business opportunities to economic actors, to support consumers in making sustainable choices and to allow authorities to verify compliance with legal obligations.”
In short, the DPP calls for a product’s entire value chain to be digitally encoded in a QR code, barcode, RFID tag, or similar identifier. That means recording every material in a product, from source to shelf and location by location, to get a measurement of its carbon footprint. It also means documenting information on repairs, reuse, and proper disposal so that the EU can incentivize recycling and upcycling.
The DPP suggests that DAM and PIM integrations could become more decentralized, more dynamic, and significantly more complex. So, what will that mean for DAM and PIM pros?
Rethinking Information Flows
Today, production information is handed off from product or engineering teams to marketers to ecommerce teams. The goal is to preserve data integrity with one, trustworthy listing that can be customized for syndication to various retailers.
With the DPP, we’re looking at decentralized information flows with multiple contributors empowered to update data throughout a product’s lifecycle. The rights, permissions, and governance systems to pull this off and protect leaks of private information will resemble processes well known to DAM administrators.
The plan is to launch DPP in 2026 with three product categories to start—batteries, consumer electronics, and apparel. These are complex value chains, to say the least. An EV car battery contains at least five minerals that are mined, processed, and traded in multiple countries before being sold to a battery manufacturer and then shipped to an auto plant. Those handoffs leave a complex carbon footprint. If that record must be included with every good sold in the EU (across some 30 product categories), DAM and PIM administrators will probably shoulder that responsibility.
New DAM and PIM Collaborators
How does a DAM and PIM work when engineering, product, marketing, and ecommerce teams must rely on external data sources and collaborators to document product information? Who or what protects its accuracy?
Consider the data sources for a DPP. Carbon accounting platforms might feed emissions totals into the PIM as goods move through each location and process in the supply chain. Geolocation systems may document where and how goods have traveled. Manufacturers might ingest DPPs for each input, component, or feedstock before integrating them into a DPP for the final product. B2B and B2C ecommerce sites will no doubt present DPPs to their customers, many of which will need the data to comply with emission caps or taxes.
This diversity of contributors means that product information will need an open, machine-readable standard that can be modified throughout the value chain but protected against manipulation and fraud. While ecommerce sites have always set their own standards for listings—to ensure conformity with their browsing categories, search filters, and SEO strategy—the DPP implies one unified standard and one data repository like PIM.
More Jobs for AI
DAM and PIM vendors have already integrated generative AIs like ChatGPT to perform routine work. For instance, AI can generate metadata tags, SEO keywords, SEO-optimized product descriptions, and alt text for accessibility. Soon, we’ll use those AIs to iterate existing assets into fresh images and videos depicting different models and use cases. DPPs certainly raise new opportunities to use AI.
For instance, AI could automatically generate maps visualizing a product’s supply chain, or it could generate an emissions calculation and graphic based around something intuitive—like gallons or liters of gasoline burned rather than metric tons of CO2. Indeed, consumerizing DPP data might become a competitive edge for selling to eco-conscious buyers.
In turn, AI could serve regulators by crawling DPPs for discrepancies, missing data, or locations relevant to trade sanctions, tariffs, and tax subsidies. That means accurate product information could become legally and politically salient in industries that are minimally regulated. DAM and PIM, already integral to marketing and ecommerce operations, might become a compliance tool as well.
DAM, PIM, and DPP Integration: Messy but Meaningful
Our goal here was to show that DAM and PIM integrations are the beginning of a more complex journey for product information. Thanks to combined systems and plug-and-play APIs, the challenge of DAM and PIM integration will become minimal where it hasn’t already. The greater challenge will be to integrate disparate data feeds and dynamically update information across a product’s lifecycle while preserving data integrity.
Like content in DAM, product information will become something we co-create with partners rather than a set of data brands define and then guard against change. Just as decentralized user-generated content introduced new opportunities and challenges—from the influencer and creator economies to rampant disinformation and content doctoring—decentralized product information will likewise change our industry. We have two years to prepare.
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