B2B2C in Data Management

The Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (B2B2C) scenario is increasingly important in Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and Data Quality Management (DQM).

This scenario is usually seen in manufacturing including pharmaceuticals as examined in the post Six MDMographic Stereotypes.

One challenge here is how to extend the capabilities in MDM / PIM / DQM solutions that are build for Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) use cases. Doing B2B2C requires a Multidomain MDM approach with solid PIM and DQM elements either as one solution, a suite of solutions or as a wisely assembled set of best-of-breed solutions.B2B2C MDM PIM DQMIn the MDM sphere a key challenge with B2B2C is that you probably must encompass more surrounding applications and ensure a 360-degree view of party, location and product entities as they have varying roles with varying purposes at varying times tracked by these applications. You will also need to cover a broader range of data types that goes beyond what is traditionally seen as master data.

In DQM you need data matching capabilities that can identify and compare both real-world persons, organizations and the grey zone of persons in professional roles. You need DQM of a deep hierarchy of location data and you need to profile product data completeness for both professional use cases and consumer use cases.

In PIM the content must be suitable for both the professional audience and the end consumers. The issues in achieving this stretch over having a flexible in-house PIM solution and a comprehensive outbound Product Data Syndication (PDS) setup.

As the middle B in B2B2C supply chains you must have a strategic partnership with your suppliers/vendors with a comprehensive inbound Product Data Syndication (PDS) setup and increasingly also a framework for sharing customer master data taking into account the privacy and confidentiality aspects of this.

This emerging MDM / PIM / DQM scope is also referred to as Multienterprise MDM.

Customer Data Platform (CDP) vs Master Data Management (MDM)

A recent Gartner report states that: “Organizations that fail to understand their use cases, desired business outcomes and customer data governance requirements have difficulty choosing between CDPs and MDM solutions, because of overlapping capabilities.”

Indeed. This topic was examined here on the blog last year in the post CDP: Is that part of CRM or MDM?

Gartner compare the two breeds of solutions this way:

  • CDPs are marketing-managed tools designed for the creation, segmentation and activation of customer profiles. … These platforms have less governance functionality than MDM solutions and tend to focus on delivering a complete view through the amalgamation of data generated by digital customer interactions.
  • MDM solutions are more mature technology that also enable customer 360 insights by creating and managing a central, persisted system or index of record for master customer records. They enable governance and management of the core data that uniquely identifies one customer as distinct from another. They were built to support enterprisewide sources and applications of customer data.

CDP platforms (via CRM applications) seems to hit from outside in without getting to the core of customer centrecity. MDM solutions are hitting the bullseye and some of the MDM solutions are moving inside out in the direction of extended MDM, where all customer data, not just customer master data, is encompassed under the same data governance umbrella.

CDP vs MDM

Get the Gartner report Choose Between Customer Data Platforms and MDM Solutions for 360-Degree Customer Insights through Reltio here.

Four Themes That Will Take MDM Beyond MDM as We Have Known It

The Master Data Management (MDM) discipline is emerging. A certain trend is that MDM solutions will grow beyond handling traditional master data entities and encompass other kinds of data and more capabilities that can be used for other kinds of data as well.

Semarchy XDMThis include:

  • Utilizing data discovery to explore data sources with master data, reference data, critical application data and other kinds of data as described in the post How Data Discovery Makes a Data Hub More Valuable.
  • Governing the full set of data that needs to be governed as examined in the post Maturing RDM, MDM and ADM With Collaborative Data Governance.
  • Building a data hub that encompass the right representation of data that needs to be shared enterprise wide and even business ecosystem wide as explained in the post Why Flexible Data Models are Crucial in Data Sharing.
  • Measuring data quality in conjunction with general key performance indicators in dashboards that besides master data also embraces other internal and external sources as for example aggregated data from data warehouses and data lakes.

These themes were also covered in a webinar I presented with Semarchy last month. Watch the webinar The Intelligent Data Hub: MDM and Beyond.

Why Flexible Data Models are Crucial in Data Sharing

Master data and reference data are two types of data that are shared enterprise wide and even in the wider business ecosystem where your company operates.

In your organization and business ecosystem the data that is shared is basically held in applications like ERP and CRM solutions that have come with a data model provided by the solution vendor. These data models are built to facilitate the operations that is supported by each of these applications and is a data model that must suite every kind of organization.

A core reason of being for a Master Data Management (MDM) solution is to provide a data store where master data is represented in a way that reflects the business model of your organization. This data store serves many purposes as for example being a data integration hub and the place where the results of data quality improvements (eg de-duplication) are stored.

Data model

Such a data hub can go beyond master data entities and represent reference data and critical application data that is shared across your organization and the wider business ecosystem within a given industry.

Learn more about flexible data models in a data hub context in the Semarchy whitepaper authored by me and titled The Intelligent Data Hub: Taking MDM to the Next Level.

MDM, PIM, DAM and 7 More Data Management TLAs

What is CDI (in a data management context)? What does PDS stand for? And what about RDM?

Well, here is an under 2 minutes silent video going through what 10 common Three Letter Acronyms in the data management world is:

Read more about the Three Letter Acronyms in the post 10 Data Management TLAs You Should Know.

Learn more about some of the best solutions in this space on The Disruptive MDM / PIM / DQM List.

What MDMographic Stereotype is Your Organization?

In marketing we use the term demographic stereotype for segmenting individual persons according to known data elements as age and where we live. There is also a lesser used term called firmographic stereotypes, where companies are segmented according to industry sector, size and other data elements.

Solutions for Master Data Management (MDM) and related disciplines are often presented by industry sector. In my work with tool selection – either as a thorough engagement or a quick select your solution report – I have identified some MDMographic stereotypes, where we have the same requirements based on the distribution of party (customer and supplier/vendor) entities and product entities:

MDMographic Stereotypes and Venn

These stereotypes are further explained in the post Six MDMographic Stereotypes.

Who are the ADM Solution Providers?

ADM MDMAs examined in the post MDM vs ADM there is a sister discipline to Master Data Management (MDM) called Application Data Management (ADM).

While there are plenty of analyst market reports on who are the MDM solution providers, there are no similar ADM solution market reports. Not even by Gartner, who has coined the ADM term.

So, let me try to present three (to seven) examples of who might be some of the leading ADM solutions:

Oracle (CDM Cloud and Product MDM Cloud)

Oracle was thrown out of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM Solutions as their approach reflects an exclusively ADM approach to MDM, thus meeting the associated Gartner defined exclusion criteria.

This indicates that you can use Oracle technology to underpin data management encompassing master data and other critical application data as long as these data are managed in an Oracle application or brought from somewhere else into the Oracle application before the data management capabilities are applied.

SAP ECC, S/4HANA, MDG

A lot of master/application data management takes place inside SAP’s ERP application which was called ECC and is now being replaced by S/4HANA. As SAP ERP do not provide much help for master data management, there are third-party applications that helps with that. One example I have worked with is it.mds.

SAP has introduced their newest MDM solution called SAP MDG (Master Data Governance). While this MDM solution in theory may be a solution that embraces all master data within an enterprise, it is, as I see it, in practice used to govern master data that sits in SAP ECC or S/4HANA as the core advantage of SAP MDG is that it fits with the SAP ERP data model and technology set up.

Semarchy xDM

The Semarchy solution is called xDM, implying that x can be everything as M for MDM, R for RDM (Reference Data Management) and A for ADM. In this approach the data management capabilities as data governance, hierarchy management and workflow management are applied in their Intelligent Data Hub™ regardless of the brand of the source (and target) application.

xDM from Semarchy is one of the featured solutions on The Disruptive MDM / PIM / DQM List. Learn more her.

Three Not So Easy Steps to a 360-Degree Customer View

Getting a 360-degree view (or single view) of your customers has been a quest in data management as long as I can remember.

This has been the (unfulfilled) promise of CRM applications since they emerged 25 years ago. Data quality tools has been very much about deduplication of customer records. Customer Data Integration (CDI) and the first Master Data Management (MDM) platforms were aimed at that conundrum. Now we see the notion of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) getting traction.

There are three basic steps in getting a 360-degree view of those parties that have a customer role within your organization – and these steps are not at all easy ones:

360 Degree Customer View

  • Step 1 is identifying those customer records that typically are scattered around in the multiple systems that make up your system landscape. You can do that (endlessly) by hand, using the very different deduplication functionality that comes with ERP, CRM and other applications, using a best-of-breed data quality tool or the data matching capabilities built into MDM platforms. Doing this with adequate results takes a lot as pondered in the post Data Matching and Real-World Alignment.
  • Step 2 is finding out which data records and data elements that survives as the single source of truth. This is something a data quality tool can help with but best done within an MDM platform. The three main options for that are examined in the post Three Master Data Survivorship Approaches.
  • Step 3 is gathering all data besides the master data and relate those data to the master data entity that identifies and describes the real-world entity with a customer role. Today we see both CRM solution vendors and MDM solution vendors offering the technology to enable that as told in the post CDP: Is that part of CRM or MDM?

Product Data in ERP, MDM and PIM

Organizations typically holds product data in three different kind of applications:

  • In an ERP application together with all other kinds of master data and transaction data.
  • In an MDM (Master Data Management) application either as a Product MDM implementation or a multidomain MDM implementation together with other master data domains.
  • In a PIM (Product Information Management) application.

Each of these applications have their pros and cons and where an organization utilizes several of these applications we often see that there is no single source of truth for all product data, but that some product attributes are controlled by one application and some other attributes are controlled by another application. Recently I wrote a post on the Pimnews think forum with a walk through of different kinds of product attributes and if they typically are controlled in PIM or ERP / MDM. The post had the title Six Product Attribute Levels.

The overwhelming part of organizations still use ERP as the place for product data – often supplemented by satellite spreadsheets with product data.

However, more and more organizations, not at least larger global ones, are implementing MDM solutions and, also midsize organisations, are implementing PIM solutions. The solution market was before split between MDM and PIM solutions, but we now do see some of the PIM solution providers also encompassing MDM capabilities. On the Disruptive MDM/PIM List there is a selection of solutions either being more MDM-ish or more PIM-ish as examined in the post MDM, PIM or Both.

MDM ish and PIM ish vendors

Top 15 MDM / PIM Requirements in RFPs

A Request for Proposal (RFP) process for a Master Data Management (MDM) and/or Product Information Management (PIM) solution has a hard fact side as well as there are The Soft Sides of MDM and PIM RFPs.

The hard fact side is the detailed requirements a potential vendor has to answer to in what in most cases is the excel sheet the buying organization has prepared – often with the extensive help from a consultancy.

Here are what I have seen as the most frequently included topics for the hard facts in such RFPs:

  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution have functionality for hierarchy management?
  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution have workflow management included?
  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution support versioning of master data / product information?
  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution allow to tailor the data model in a flexible way?
  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution handle master data / product information in multiple languages / character sets / script systems?
  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution have capabilities for (high speed) batch import / export and real-time integration (APIs)?
  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution have capabilities within data governance / data stewardship?
  • MDM and PIM: Does the solution integrate with “a specific application”? – most commonly SAP, MS CRM/ERPs, SalesForce?
  • MDM: Does the solution handle multiple domains, for example customer, vendor/supplier, employee, product and asset?
  • MDM: Does the solution provide data matching / deduplication functionality and formation of golden records?
  • MDM: Does the solution have integration with third-party data providers for example business directories (Dun & Bradstreet / National registries) and address verification services?
  • MDM: Does the solution underpin compliance rules as for example data privacy and data protection regulations as in GDPR / other regimes?
  • PIM: Does the solution support product classification and attribution standards as eClass, ETIM (or other industry specific / national standards)?
  • PIM: Does the solution support publishing to popular marketplaces (form of outgoing Product Data Syndication)?
  • PIM: Does the solution have a functionality to ease collection of product information from suppliers (incoming Product Data Syndication)?

Learn more about how I can help in the blog page about MDM / PIM Tool Selection Consultancy.

MDM PIM RFP Wordle