The PIMS project was started by Sidney Schoeffler working at General Electric in the 1960s, then picked up by Harvard's Management Science Institute in the early 1970s, and has been administered by the American Strategic Planning Institute since 1975. It was initiated by senior managers at GE who wanted to know why some of their business units were more profitable than the others. With the help of Sidney Schoeffler they set up a research project in which each of their strategic business units reported their performance on dozens of variables. This was then expanded to outside companies in the early 1970s. The initial survey, between 1970 and 1983, involved 2,600 strategic business units (SBU), from 200 companies. Today 3,811 observations exist; PIMS is managed by PIMS Associates in London. Each SBU give information on the market within which they operated, the products they had brought to market and the efficacy of the strategies they had implemented. The PIMS project analysed the data they had gathered to identify the options, problems, resources and opportunities faced by each SBU. Based on the spread of each business across different industries, it was hoped that the data could be drawn upon to provide other business, in the same industry, with empirical evidence of which strategies lead to increased profitability. The database continues to be updated and drawn upon by academics and companies today.  Conclusions drawn by PIMS
The original PIMS data survey led the PIMS project to identify 37 variables which account for the majority of business success. Two leading marketing texts differ slightly on which variables are the most important, with Dibb, Simkin, Pride and Ferrell (p676) identifying: * a strong market position
* high quality of product
* lower costs
* lower requirement for capital investment
and Lanacaster, Massingham and Ashford (p535) citing:
* market share
* investment intensity...