Social PIM, Take 2

My first blog post on Social PIM (Social Product Information Management) was over 4 years ago.

take-2Since then Product Data Lake has been launched. Product Data Lake resembles a social network as you connect with your trading partners from the real world in order to collaborate on getting complete and accurate product information from the manufacturer to the point-of-sales.

I would love to see you, my blog readers, become involved. The options are:

A System of Engagement for Business Ecosystems

Master Data Management (MDM) is increasingly being about supporting systems of engagement in addition to the traditional role of supporting systems of record. This topic was first examined on this blog back in 2012 in the post called Social MDM and Systems of Engagement.

The best known systems of engagement are social networks where the leaders are Facebook for engagement with persons in the private sphere and LinkedIn for engagement with people working in or for one or several companies.

But what about engagement between companies? Though you can argue that all (soft) engagement is neither business-to-consumer (B2C) nor business-to-business (B2B) but human-to-human (H2H), there are some hard engagement going on between companies.

pdl-whyOne of the most important ones is exchange of product information between manufacturers, distributors, resellers and large end users of product information. And that is not going very well today. Either it is based on fluffy emailing of spreadsheets or using rigid data pools and portals. So there are definitely room for improvement here.

At Product Data Lake we have introduced a system of engagement for companies when it comes to the crucial task of exchanging product information between trading partners. Read more about that in the post What a PIM-2-PIM Solution Looks Like.

Social Selling: Does it Work?

Social Master Data Management (Social MDM) has been on my radar for quite a long time. Social MDM is the natural consequence of Social CRM and social selling.

Social MDMNow social selling has become very close to me in the endeavour of putting a B2B (Business-to-Business) cloud service called Product Data Lake on the market.

In our quest to do that we rely on social selling for the following reasons:

  • If we do not think too much about, that time is money, social selling is an inexpensive substitution for a traditional salesforce, not at least when we are targeting a global market.
  • We have a subscription model with a very low entry level, which really does not justify many onsite meetings outside downtown Copenhagen – but we do online meetings based on social engagement though 🙂
  • The Product Data Lake resembles a social network itself by relying on trading partnerships for exchange of product information.

I will be keen to know about your experiences and opinions about social selling. Does it work? Does it pay off to sell socially? Does it feel good to buy socially?

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MDM 3.0 Musings

The term Data Quality 3.0 has been around on this blog for nearly 5 years and was recently aired again in the post Data Quality 3.0 Revisited.

A natural consequence of the concept of Data Quality 3.0 is something we may call Master Data Management (MDM) 3.0.

Master Data Management has in a large degree until now been about how to manage master data internally within organizations. The goal has often been to merge different data silos within the organization into one trusted source of master data. But any organization in itself manages a master data silo too. The master data kept by any organization is in a large degree a description of real world entities that also is digitalized by business partners and other third party entities.

The possibility of sharing customer, or rather party, master data as well as product and location master data was examined in the post Third Party Data and MDM.

open-doorBut how do popular MDM solutions facilitate the enormous potential of looking outside the implementing organization when it comes to achieving high value master data? Very poor, in general, I’m afraid. From my experience MDM vendors stops at the point of creating more or less readymade interfaces to popular data pools and for product data some kind of supplier portals. While the professional MDM vendor have viable methodologies for internal MDM processes there is an open door to the blue sky when it comes to external collaboration.

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Customer MDM Magic Wordles

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Customer Data 2014 is out. One place to get it for free is by using the Informatica registry style page offered in the Informatica communication here.

So, what is good and what is bad when looking for a MDM vendor if you are focusing on customer data right now?

Some words in the strengths assessment of vendors are:

Magic plus

Some words in the cautions assessment of vendors are:

Magic minus

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Sharing Product Master Data

One of the top challenges in product Master Data Management (MDM) is the sharing of master data attributes and digital assets across the ecosystem of manufacturers, distributors, retailers and end users.

There seems to be a range of solutions emerging in order to cover that land. Three kinds of approaches will be:

  • Supplier engagement within Product Information Management (PIM) solutions.
  • Similar solutions within wider IT offerings.
  • Social PIM.

PIMMaster Data Management (MDM) platforms with strong offerings for the product domain comes with built-in functionality for engaging suppliers in the process of collecting product master data attributes and related materials as product sheets, images and other digital assets.

You may also find similar functionality within the broader software suites as for example the SAP Product Stewardship Network.

A somewhat different approach may be called Social PIM as explained in the post Time to Turn Your Product Master Data Social? Here the collection process is sort of independent of in-house systems. This may, in the long run, help with having your suppliers having to attend many different solutions and also help your customers depending on where you sit in the ecosystem.

What is your experience regarding sharing product master data?

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Happy 10 Years Birthday MDM Solutions

326px-10piece-blank-R_k.svgEvery year Information Difference publishes a report about the Master Data Management (MDM) Landscape. This year’s report celebrates the 10th year of MDM solutions around. Of course, the MDM industry didn’t start on a certain date 10 years ago, but the use of MDM as a common accepted notation for a branch of IT solutions within data management, and in my eyes as a much needed spinoff of the data quality discipline, was commonly being accepted.

A birthday is a good occasion to look ahead. The Information Difference report takes on some of the trends in the MDM solutions around, being that:

  • Most MDM vendors today claims to be multi-domain MDM providers, but certainly they are on different stages coming from different places
  • Providing MDM in the cloud is slowly but steadily adapted
  • Integrating big data into MDM solutions has, in my words, reached the marketing and R&D departments at the MDM vendors and will someday also reach the professional service and accounting folks there

Read the MDM landscape Q2 2014 report from Information Difference here.

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From B2B and B2C to H2H

I stumbled upon an article from yesterday by Bryan Kramer called There is no more B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human, H2H.


The article is about the implications for marketing caused by the rise of social media which now finally seems to eliminate what we have known as business-to-business (B2B) and more or less merges B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C).

As discussed here on the blog several times starting way back in 2009 in the post Echoes in the Database a problem with B2B indeed is that while business transactions takes place between legal entities a lot of business processes are done between employees related to the selling and buying entities. You may call that employee-to-employee (E2E), people-to-people (P2P) or indeed human-to-human (H2H).

Related to databases, data quality and Master Data Management (MDM) this means we need real world alignment with two kinds of parties:

While B2B and B2C may melt together in the way we do messaging the distinction between B2B and B2C will be there in many other aspects. Even in social media we see it as for example two of the most used social networks being FaceBook and LinkedIn clearly belongs mainly to B2C and B2B respectively for marketing and social selling purposes.

The different possibilities with B2B and B2C in the H2H world was touched in an interview on DataQualityPro last year: What are the Benefits of Social MDM?

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Third-Party Data and MDM

A recent blog post called Top 14 Master Data Management Misconceptions by William McKnight has as the last misconception this one:

“14. Third-party data is inappropriate for MDM

Third-party data is largely about extending the profile of important subject areas, which are mastered in MDM.  Taking third-party data into organizations has actually kicked off many MDM programs.”

business partnersIndeed, using third-party data, which also could be called big external reference data, is in my eyes a very good solution for a lot of use cases. Some of the most popular exploitations today are:

  • Using a business directory as big reference data for B2B party master data in customer data integration (CDI) and supplier master data management.
  • Using address directories as big reference data for location master data management also related to party master data management for B2C customer data.
  • Using product data directories such as the Global data Synchronization Network (GDSN®) services, the UNSPSC® directory and heaps of industry specific product directories.

The next wave of exploiting external data, which is just kicking off as Social MDM, is digging into social media for sharing data, including:

  • Using professional social networks as LinkedIn in B2B environments where you often find the most timely reference data not at least about contact data related to your business partners’ accounts.
  • Using consumer oriented social networks as Facebook for getting to know your B2C customers better.
  • Using social collaboration as a way to achieve better product master data as told in the post Social PIM.

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Social Events and Master Data Management

Recently I changed one of my job titles on LinkedIn resulting in a number of likes, congrats and messages. And thanks for that.

Probably I have a record in a number of CRM systems out there where I am registered as a contact for an account with an attached job title. As a guy working at several places at the same time I am a bit complicated, I have to admit, so I guess many of these records aren’t up to date about where I work carrying what title and having what means of contact.

Complicated or not, I have no doubt about that many CRM implementations will benefit from digging into social networks in order to be up to date and complete as told in the post Social MDM and Complex Sales.

New job (title)As discussed in the post Multi-Facet MDM we may divide master data management into handling these facets:

  • Entities
  • Relations
  • Events

Within party master data management events may be captured during interacting with your (prospective) customers and other business partners, as an update from a third party reference data provider or in an increasing way by monitoring social networks which are often the first to know certain things, not at least when it’s about contacts in Business-to-business (B2B) activities.

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