Five Ways You as a Manufacturer Can Exploit Product Data Syndication

Product Data Syndication has become an essential capability to manage within digital transformation at manufacturers. There are 5 main scenarios.

1: Outbound product data syndication for finished products

As a manufacturer you need to ensure that self-service buying decisions by the end customer through the channel partner point-of-sale will result in choosing your product instead of a product provided by your competitor.

This is achieved through providing complete product information in a way that is easy onboarded by each of your channel partners – as well as direct customers and marketplaces where this apply.

2: Inbound product data syndication for 3rd party finished products

As a manufacturer you often have a range of products that are not produced inhouse but are essential supplements when selling own produced products.

The process involves getting the most complete set of product information available from the supplier in order to fit the optimal set of product information needed to support the buying decision by the end customer where your own produced products and 3rd party products makes a whole.

3: Inbound product data syndication for raw materials and packaging

Here the objective is to get product information needed to do quality assurance and in organic production apply the right blend in order to produce a consistent finished product.

Also, the increasing demand for measures of sustainability is driving the urge for information on the provenance of the finished product and the packaging including the origin of the ingredients and circumstances of the production of these components. 

4: Inbound product data syndication for parts used in MRO

Product data for parts used in Maintenance, Repair and Operation is an essential scenario related in running the production facilities as well as in facility management around logistic facilities, offices, and other constructions where products for MRO are needed.

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) these products are becoming more and more intelligent and are operated in an automatic way. For that, product information is needed in an until now unseen degree.

5: Inbound product data syndication for other indirect products

Every organization needs products and services as furniture, office supplies, travel services and much more. The need for onboarding product data for these purchases is still minimal compared to the above-mentioned scenarios. However, a foreseeable increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in procurement operations will ignite the requirement for product data onboarding for this scenario too in the coming years.

The Need for Collaborative Product Data Syndication

The sharp rise of the need product data syndication calls for increased collaboration through data partnerships in business ecosystems.

In the Product Data Lake venture I am working on now, we have made a framework – and a piece of Software as a Service – that is able to leverage the concepts of outbound and inbound Product Data Syndication and enable the five mentioned ways of utilizing product data syndication to create better business outcomes for you as a manufacturer.

Product Data Lake acts as a single point of digital contact for suppliers and channel partners in the product data supply chain which also provide you as a manufacturer with single place in the cloud from where your Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), ERP and Product Information Management (PIM) applications get and put external product data feeds.

This concept enables automated self-service by suppliers and channels partners who also can subscribe to Product Data Lake. In The Product Data Lake platform you can control the product portfolio and the product attribute set you are sharing with each business partner.

Learn more about Product Data Lake here.

Product Data Supply Chain Management in Manufacturing

The Role of Product Data Syndication in Interenterprise MDM

Interenterprise Master Data Management is on the rise as reported in the post Watch Out for Interenterprise MDM. Interenterprise MDM is about how organizations can collaborate by sharing master data with business partners in order to optimize own master data and create new data driven revenue models together with business partners.

One of the most obvious places to start with Interenterprise MDM is Product Data Syndication (PDS). While PDS until now has been mostly applied when syndicating product data to marketplaces there is a huge potential in streamlining the flow of product from manufacturers to merchants and end users of product information.

Inbound and Outbound Product Data Syndication

There are two scenarios in interenterprise Product Data Syndication:

  • Inbound, where your organization as being part of a supply chain will receive product information from your range of suppliers. The challenge is that with no PDS functionality in between you must cater for many (hundreds or thousands) different structures, formats, taxonomies and exchange methods coming in.
  • Outbound, where your organization as being part of a supply chain will provide product information to your range of customers. The challenge is that with no PDS functionality in between you must cater for many (hundreds or thousands) different structures, formats, taxonomies and exchange methods requested by your customers.

Learn more in the post Inbound and Outbound Product Data Syndication.

4 Main Use Cases for Collaborative PDS

There are these four main use cases for exchanging product data in supply chains:

  • Exchanging product data for resell products where manufacturers and brands are forwarding product information to the end point-of-sale at a merchant. With the rise of online sales both in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) the buying decisions are self-service based, which means a dramatic increase in the demand for product data throughput.
  • Exchanging product data for raw materials and packaging. Here there is a rising demand for automating the quality assurance process, blending processes in organic production and controlling the sustainability related data by data lineage capabilities.  
  • Exchanging product data for parts used in MRO (Maintenance, Operation and Repair). As these parts are becoming components of the Industry 4.0 / Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) wave, there will be a drastic demand for providing rich product information when delivering these parts.
  • Exchanging product data for indirect products, where upcoming use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all procurement activities also will lead to requirements for availability of product information in this use case.  

Learn more in the post 4 Supplier Product Data Onboarding Scenarios.

Collaborative PDS at Work

In the Product Data Lake venture I am working on now, we have made a framework – and a piece of Software as a Service – that is able to leverage the concepts of inbound and outbound PDS and enable the four mentioned use cases for product data exchange.

The framework is based on reusing popular product data classifications (as GPC, UNSPSC, ETIM, eClass, ISO) and attribute requirement standards (as ETIM and eClass). Also, trading partners can use their preferred data exchange method (FTP file drop – as for example BMEcat, API or plain import/export) on each side.

All in all, the big win is that each upstream provider (typically a manufacturer / brand) can upload one uniform product catalogue to the Product Data Lake and each downstream receiver (a merchant or user organization) can download a uniform product catalogues covering all suppliers.   

Watch Out for Interenterprise MDM

In the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions there is a bold statement:

By 2023, organizations with shared ontology, semantics, governance and stewardship processes to enable interenterprise data sharing will outperform those that don’t.

The interenterprise data sharing theme was covered a couple of years ago here on the blog in the post What is Interenterprise Data Sharing?

Interenterprise data sharing must be leveraged through interenterprise MDM, where master data are shared between many companies as for example in supply chains. The evolution of interenterprise MDM and the current state of the discipline was touched in the post MDM Terms In and Out of The Gartner 2020 Hype Cycle.

In the 00’s the evolution of Master Data Management (MDM) started with single domain / departmental solutions dominated by Customer Data Integration (CDI) and Product Information Management (PIM) implementations. These solutions were in best cases underpinned by third party data sources as business directories as for example the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) world base and second party product information sources as for example the GS1 Global Data Syndication Network (GDSN).

In the previous decade multidomain MDM with enterprise-wide coverage became the norm. Here the solution typically encompasses customer-, vendor/supplier-, product- and asset master data. Increasingly GDSN is supplemented by other forms of Product Data Syndication (PDS). Third party and second party sources are delivered in the form of Data as a Service that comes with each MDM solution.

In this decade we will see the rise of interenterprise MDM where the solutions to some extend become business ecosystem wide, meaning that you will increasingly share master data and possibly the MDM solutions with your business partners – or else you will fade in the wake of the overwhelming data load you will have to handle yourself.

So, watch out for not applying interenterprise MDM.

PS: That goes for MDM end user organizations and MDM platform vendors as well.

4 Supplier Product Data Onboarding Scenarios

When working with Product Information Management (PIM) and Product Master Data Management (Product MDM) one of the most important and challenging areas is how you effectively onboard product master data / product information for products that you do not produce inhouse.

There are 4 main scenarios for that:

  • Onboarding product data for resell products
  • Onboarding product data for raw materials and packaging
  • Onboarding product data for parts used in MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operation)
  • Onboarding product data for indirect products

Onboarding product data for resell products

This scenario is the main scenario for distributors/wholesalers, retailers and other merchants. However, most manufactures also have a range of products that are not produced inhouse but are essential supplements when selling own produced products.

The process involves getting the most complete set of product information available from the supplier in order to fit the optimal set of product information needed to support a buying decision by the end customer. With the increase of online sales, the buying decision today is often self-serviced. This has dramatically increased the demand for product information throughput.

Onboarding product data for raw materials and packaging

This scenario exists at manufacturers of products. Here the objective is to get product information needed to do quality assurance and in organic production apply the right blend in order to produce a consistent finished product.

Also, the increasing demand for measures of sustainability is driving the urge for information on the provenance of the finished product and the packaging including the origin of the ingredients and circumstances of the production of these components.  

Onboarding product data for parts used in MRO

Product data for parts used in Maintenance, Repair and Operation is a main scenario at manufacturers related to running the production facilities. However, most organizations have facility management around logistic facilities, offices, and other constructions where products for MRO are needed.

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) these products are becoming more and more intelligent and are operated in an automatic way. For that, product information is needed in an until now unseen degree.

Onboarding product data for indirect products

Every organization needs products and services as furniture, office supplies, travel services and much more. The need for onboarding product data for these purchases is still minimal compared to the above-mentioned scenarios. However, a foreseeable increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in procurement operations will ignite the requirement for product data onboarding for this scenario too in the coming years.

The Need for Collaborative Product Data Syndication

The sharp rise of the need product data onboarding calls for increased collaboration between suppliers and Business-to-Business (B2B) customers. It is here worth noticing, that many organizations have both roles in one or the other scenario. The discipline that is most effectively applied to solve the challenges is Product Data Syndication. This is further explained in the post Inbound and Outbound Product Data Syndication.

Organizations can deliver more value when they collaborate in sharing data externally

The saying in the title of this blog post is taken from a recent Gartner article with the tile Data Sharing Is a Business Necessity to Accelerate Digital Business.

In this article authored by Laurence Goasduff a key takeaway is that:

‘By 2023, organizations that promote data sharing will outperform their peers on most business value metrics”.

Regular readers of this blog will know that many good data things come from data sharing as for example pondered in the 11 years old post called Sharing data is key to a single version of the truth.

A consequence of the business benefits in sharing data will be a rise in data management disciplines aiming at business ecosystem wide data sharing, where product data syndication is an obvious opportunity.

During the last years I have been working on such a solution. This one is called Product Data Lake.

Data Marketplaces, Exchanges and Multienterprise MDM

In the recent Gartner Top 10 Trends in Data and Analytics for 2020 trend number 8 is about data marketplaces and exchanges. As stated by Gartner: “By 2022, 35% of large organizations will be either sellers or buyers of data via formal online data marketplaces, up from 25% in 2020.”

The topic of selling and buying data was touched here on the blog in the post Three Flavors of Data Monetization

A close topic to data marketplaces and exchanges is Multienterprise MDM.

In the 00’s the evolution of Master Data Management (MDM) started with single domain / departmental solutions dominated by Customer Data Integration (CDI) and Product Information Management (PIM) implementations. These solutions were in best cases underpinned by third party data sources as business directories as for example the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) world base and second party product information sources as for example the GS1 Global Data Syndication Network (GDSN).

In the previous decade multidomain MDM with enterprise wide coverage became the norm. Here the solution typically encompasses customer-, vendor/supplier-, product- and asset master data. Increasingly GDSN is supplemented by other forms of Product Data Syndication (PDS). Third party and second party sources are delivered in the form of Data as a Service that comes with each MDM solution.

Data Marketplaces and Exchange

In this decade we will see the rise of multienterprise MDM where the solutions to some extend become business ecosystem wide, meaning that you will increasingly share master data and possibly the MDM solutions with your business partners – or else you will fade in the wake of the overwhelming data load you will have to handle yourself.

The data sharing will be facilitated by data marketplaces and exchanges.

On July 23rd I will, as a representative of The Disruptive MDM/PIM/DQM List, present in the webinar How to Sustain Digital Ecosystems with Multi-Enterprise MDM. The webinar is brought to you by Winshuttle / Enterworks. It is a part of their everything MDM & PIM virtual conference. Get the details and make your free registration here.

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.

TCO, ROI and Business Case for Your MDM / PIM / DQM Solution

Any implementation of a Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and/or Data Quality Management (DQM) solution will need a business case to tell if the intended solution has a positive business outcome.

Prior to the solution selection you will typically have:

  • Identified the vision and mission for the intended solution
  • Nailed the pain points the solution is going to solve
  • Framed the scope in terms of the organizational coverage and the data domain coverage
  • Gathered the high-level requirements for a possible solution
  • Estimated the financial results achieved if the solution removes the pain points within the scope and adhering to the requirements

The solution selection (jump-starting with the Disruptive MDM / PIM / DQM Select Your Solution service) will then inform you about the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the best fit solution(s).

From here you can, put very simple, calculate the Return of Investment (ROI) by withdrawing the TCO from the estimated financial results.

MDM PIM DQM TCO ROI Business Case

You can check out more inspiration about ROI and other business case considerations on The Disruptive MDM / PIM /DQM Resource List.

Collaborative Product Data Syndication vs Data Pools and Marketplaces

The previous post on this blog was called Inbound and Outbound Product Data Syndication.

As touched in this post there are two kinds of Product Data Syndication (PDS):

  • The public kind where everyone shares the same product information. The prominent examples are marketplaces and data pools.
  • The collaborative kind where you can exchange the same product information with all your accepted trading partners but also supplement with one-to-one product information that allows the merchant to stand out from the crowd.

When you syndicate to marketplaces everyone can easily watch and get inspired. A creepy kind of inspiration is the one surfacing at the moment where Amazon is believed to copy product data in order to make a physical twin as examined in the Wall Street Journal article telling that Amazon Scooped Up Data From Its Own Sellers to Launch Competing Products.

When syndicating – or synchronizing – through data pools you are limited to the consensus on the range of data elements, structure and format enforced by those who control the data pool – which can be you and your competitors.

With a collaborative PDS solution you can get the best of two worlds. You can have the market standard that makes you not falling behind your competitors. However, you can also have unique content coming through that puts you ahead of your competitors.

Collaborative PDS Data pools and Marketplaces

Right now, I am working with a collaborative PDS solution. This solution welcomes other (collaborative) PDS solutions as part of the product information flow. The solution will also encompass data pools in a reservoir concept. This PDS solution is called Product Data Lake.