Supplier 360 + Product 360 = The Buy Side Oval

Having a 360 degree of something is a recurring subject within Master Data Management (MDM). “Customer 360” is probably the most used term. “Product 360” is promoted from time to time too and occasionally we also stumble upon “Supplier 360” (or “Vendor 360”).

Product 360 was recently examined by Simon Walker of Gartner, the analyst firm, in the post Creating the 360-Degree view of Product.

Supplier 360, as in having a single golden supplier/vendor record to connect all databases, was touched by Grant Watling of HICX Solutions a while ago in the post All Aboard! Six steps to supplier onboarding.

The Buy Side Oval is a combination of Product 360 and Supplier 360

Buy Side MDM 

Within (Multi-Domain) Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) we must be able to provide solutions that enables the buy side to effectively and consistently handle the core entities involved.

The solution to that is not having a supplier product data portal as discussed in the post PIM Supplier Portals: Are They Good or Bad? A key part lies outside your in-house platform in the business ecosystem where you and your suppliers all are participants and can be achieved as told in the post Master Data, Product Information, Digital Assets and Digital Ecosystems.

Master Data, Product Information, Digital Assets and Digital Ecosystems

When it comes to mastering product data there are these three kinds of data and supporting managing disciplines and solutions:

  • Master data and the supporting Master Data Management (MDM) discipline and a choice of MDM solutions for the technology part
  • Product information and the supporting Product Information Management (PIM) discipline and a choice of PIM solutions for the technology part
  • Digital assets and the supporting Digital Asset Management (DAM) discipline and a choice of DAM solutions for the technology part

What these disciplines are and how the available solutions relate was examined in the post How MDM, PIM and DAM Sticks Together. This post includes a model for that proposed by Simon Walker of Gartner (the analyst firm).

The right mix for your company depends on your business model and you will also have the choice of using a best of breed technology solution for your focus, that being MDM, PIM or DAM, as well as there are choices for a same branded solution, and in some cases also actually integrated solution, that supports MDM, PIM and DAM.

When selecting a (product) data management platform today you also must consider how this platform supports taking part in digital ecosystems, here meaning how you share product data with your trading partners in business ecosystems.

For the digital platform part supporting interacting with master data, product information and digital assets with your trading partners, who might have another focus than you, the solution is Product Data Lake.

MDM PIM DAM PDL

GDPR Data Portability and Master Data Sharing

PortabilityOne of the controversial principles in the upcoming EU GDPR enforcement is the concept of data portability.

In legal lingo data portability means: “Where the data subject has provided the personal data and the processing is based on consent or on a contract, the data subject shall have the right to transmit those personal data and any other information provided by the data subject and retained by an automated processing system, into another one, in an electronic format which is commonly used, without hindrance from the controller from whom the personal data are withdrawn.”

In other words, if you are processing personal data provided by a (prospective) customer or other kind of end user of your products and services, you must be able to hand these data over to your competitor.

I am sure, this is a new way of handling party master data to almost every business. However, sharing master data with your competitor is not new when it comes to product master data as examined in the post Toilet Seats and Data Quality.

Sharing party master data with your competitor will be yet a Sunny Side of GDPR.

MDM / PIM Platform Vendors Need to Grow Up Too

Participating in digital ecosystems is the way forward for enterprises who wants to be tomorrow’s winners through digital transformation.

Some figures from Gartner, the analyst firm, tells this about digital transformation:

  • 79% of top performing companies indicate that they participate in a digital ecosystem
  • 49% of typical companies indicate the same
  • 24% of trailing companies does it

These figures were lately examined by Bryan Kirschner of Apigee (now part of Google) in a Cio.com article called Ecosystems: when digital transformation grows up.

Master Data Share
Master Data Share for Business Ecosystems

As a Master Data Management (MDM) and/or Product Information Management (PIM) platform vendor you should support your current and prospective clients with means to participate in digital ecosystems.

Current offerings from MDM and PIM platforms vendors have become quite mature in supporting inhouse (enterprise wide) handling of master data and product information. Next step is supporting sharing within business ecosystems. A concept for that is introduced in Master Data Share.

Obstacles to Product Information Sharing

In a recent poll on this blog we had this question about how to share product information with trading partners:

As a manufacturer: What is Your Toughest Product Information Sharing Issue?

The result turned out as seen below:

Survey final

Product information flow in supply chains will typically start with that manufacturers shares the detailed hard facts about products to the benefit of downstream partners as examined in the post Using Internal and External Product Information to Win.

This survey points to that the main reason why this does that take place is that manufacturers need to mature in handling and consolidating product information internally, before they are confident in sharing the detailed data elements (in an automated way) with their downstream partners. This subject was elaborated in the post Product Information Sharing Issue No 1: We Need to Mature Internally.

Another obstacle is the lack of a common standard for product information in the business ecosystem where the manufacturer is a part as further examined in the post Product Information Sharing Issue No 2: No Viable Standard.

Issue no 3 is the apparent absence of a good solution for sharing product information with trading partners that suites the whole business ecosystem. I guess it is needless to say to regular readers of this blog that, besides being able to support issue no 1 and issue no 2, that solution is Product Data Lake.

The days of castle and moat are over, just as brick and mortar is slowly diminishing too

A recent post called Ecosystem Architecture is replacing Enterprise Architecture from Oliver Cronk of Deloitte has these statements:

Kronborg_Castle“Organisations need architectural thinking beyond their organisational boundaries” and “The days of Enterprise Architecture taking a castle and moat approach are over”.

The end of the castle and moat thinking in Enterprise Architecture (and Business Information Architecture) is also closely related to the diminished importance of the brick and mortar ways of selling, being increasingly overtaken by eCommerce.

However, some figures I have noticed that cause the brick and mortar way to resist the decline by still having a castle and moat thinking is:

Retailers, distributors and manufacturers need to move on from the castle and moat thinking in Enterprise Architecture and Business Information Architecture and start interacting effectively in their business ecosystems with product information.

This is the thinking behind Product Data Lake. You can keep your castle by breaking down the walls and replace the moat with a stream as shown in our 5 + 5 Business Benefits.

Encompassing Relational, Document and Graph the Best Way

The use of graph technology in Master Data Management (MDM) has been a recurring topic on this blog as the question about how graph approaches fits with MDM keeps being discussed in the MDM world.

Multi-Domain MDM GraphRecently Salah Kamel, the CEO at the agile MDM solution provider Semarchy, wrote a blog post called Does MDM Need Graph?

In here Salah states: “A meaningful graph query language and visualization of graph relationships is an emerging requirement and best practice for empowering business users with MDM; however, this does not require the massive redesign, development, and integration effort associated with moving to a graph database for MDM functionality”.

In his blog post Salah discusses how relationships in the multi-domain MDM world can be handled by graph approaches not necessarily needing a graph database.

At Product Data Lake, which is a business ecosystem wide product information sharing service that works very well besides Semarchy MDM inhouse solutions, we are on the same page.

Currently we are evaluating how graph approaches are best delivered on top of our document database technology (using MongoDB). The current use cases in scope are exploiting related products in business ecosystems and how to find a given product with certain capabilities in a business ecosystem as examined in the post Three Ways of Finding a Product.