A recent discussion on the LinkedIn Multi-Domain MDM group is about vendor / supplier portals as a part of Product Information Management implementations.
A supplier portal (or vendor portal if you like) is usually an extension to a Product Information Management (PIM) solution. The idea is that the suppliers of products, and thus providers of product information, to you as a downstream participant (distributor or retailer) in a supply chain, can upload their product information into your PIM solution and thus relieving you of doing that. This process usually replace the work of receiving spreadsheets from suppliers in the many situations where data pools are not relevant.
In my opinion and experience, this is a flawed concept, because it is hostile to the supplier. The supplier will have hundreds of downstream receivers of products and thus product information. If all of them introduced their own supplier portal, they will have to learn and maintain hundreds of them. Only if you are bigger than your supplier is and is a substantial part of their business, they will go with you.
Another concept, which is the opposite, is also emerging. This is manufacturers and upstream distributors establishing PIM customer portals, where suppliers can fetch product information. This concept is in my eyes flawed exactly the opposite way.
And then let us imagine that every provider of product information had their PIM customer portal and every receiver had their PIM supplier portal. Then no data would flow at all.
What is your opinion and experience?