An Insider's Guide to Akeneo's Offerings

by Brad Johnson
April 19, 2021

In today's economy, presenting customers with rich product content and a superior buying experience can set you apart from your competition. Managing that rich content can quickly become a herculean effort for any growing commerce business. Product Information Management (PIM) software takes the guesswork out of product data management and introduces workflows, approvals, asset management, and more. In that space, Akeneo is a robust, flexible PIM solution that comes in several varieties to match any use case. In this article, we will peruse the different Akeneo offerings.

Community Edition (CE)

One of the biggest benefits, Akeneo is open source software offering a Community Edition of their powerful PIM. This DIY solution is offered free of charge and is a great fit for small PIM implementations. Perhaps you only have one or two users, a couple sales channels (end destinations) for product data, less complex data models, or little need for advanced assets management.

Your technical team can find the documentation for both development and production CE versions of Akeneo here.

Growth Edition (GE) - New!

Growth Edition is a brand new offering from Akeneo aimed at those that are great fit for CE, but lack the technical expertise to get the servers and application up and running.

Growth Edition is an Akeneo hosted instance of CE. Akeneo will handle the servers and overall maintenance of the technical stack so that you can focus on your product data and create an amazing PIM experience which directly translates to a better shopping experience for your customers.Importantly, creating a great data model and connecting to your upstream and downstream systems will still require some technical know-how.

Enterprise Edition (EE)

Where business needs are more complex, you will need to step up to Akeneo's Enterprise Edition. Such complexity includes things like multiple sales channels (print catalog anyone?), dozens of users across several teams, and supplier or vendor product onboarding.

The EE version comes with added features out-of-the-box that are not available in the CE version of Akeneo. Some of the additional features include advanced user permissions, the ability to add more channels, DAM-like asset management and data modeling and much more. This version of Akeneo caters to large, complex enterprise businesses that have millions of products across thousands of categories. The EE version also comes with something called the PSA where the Akeneo professional services team works alongside partners like Sitation to ensure successful implementations.

Serenity and Flexibility

The Enterprise Edition (EE) of Akeneo PIM comes in two different flavors, Flexibility and Serenity. When purchasing Akeneo PIM, there are several points that you need to keep in mind like updates and maintenance, support, customizations, technical expertise of your team and more. After you have chosen Akeneo as your PIM, a decision will need to be made between the various Akeneo offerings and by the end of this article you should be able to make that choice confidently.

Serenity

The Serenity version of the Enterprise Edition (EE) is a fully SaaS solution that is hosted and maintained by Akeneo using Google's cloud infrastructure. This version of the PIM is continually updated with bug fixes and new features throughout the year. Serenity Akeneo will also automatically update to the latest major release that happens every 12 - 18 months.

Flexibility

The Flexibility version of EE is more of a Platform as a Service (PaaS) in which Akeneo hosts the infrastructure needed for the PIM (as well as the application itself), but you are responsible for implementation, maintenance, and updates. The feature updates are also less frequent when compared to Serenity, coming only once a year with each new major release.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages and disadvantages of the two Akeneo offerings are intentional; Serenity's advantages are disadvantages of Flexibility and vice-versa. The cost savings on maintenance and updates with Serenity cannot be overlooked. Akeneo typically releases several great features throughout the year with real value added to your workflows. With Flexibility you only get access to these new features every 12 - 18 months.

For very complex scenarios with a high likelihood of customization, Flexibility is a great solution. With this version of Akeneo, you have access to the entire codebase allowing you to customize the PIM to your business needs. A good example of this is FTP or File Transfer Protocol which is a very common way to ingest and export data. In order to automate this process, Flexibility would be necessary.

Insider Tip - You should always go in with the notion of choosing Serenity until a use case arises that makes Flexibility a better choice. The Serenity version is always the most up-to-date with the latest and greatest features and the connections are made via API which is more flexible than relying on flat files like CSV or Excel spreadsheets.

In short, Akeneo has several solutions that are fit for many different use cases. From lean eCommerce teams to large enterprise commerce companies, Akeneo can transform how you handle product data and the surrounding processes. Akeneo's omnichannel approach means that you will have a single source of truth for all products wherever they appear.

Get in touch with Sitation today to learn more about how we can help you implement the right Akeneo offering for your company.

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