Product Data Management is Like an Ironman

cofToday we have an Ironman passing through the streets of Copenhagen (and my breakfast). Kudos to the women and men who first have been on a swim lane of 3.86 km (2.4 miles), now is cycling 180.25 km (112 miles) and then will run a full Marathon of 42.2 km (26.22 miles).

Thinking about it doing product data management is a bit like an Ironman too. Overall it is a daunting task. And we have three disciplines to cover:

  • Digital Asset Management (DAM) is an activity where many organizations start. It is about handling product images in various sizes and versions along the way, as well as, depending on the product category, installation guides, line drawings, data sheets and other documents. Also videos with that and other content is becoming popular.
  • Product Information Management (PIM) is about maintaining hundreds (sometimes thousands) of different attributes describing a product. Some of these attributes are common for most products (like height, weight and colour) and some are very specific for a given product category.
  • Master Data Management (MDM) is a Marathon in itself. Here you link the above product data with product data in the overall system landscape including ERP, SCM (Supply Chain Management) and PLM (Product Lifecycle Management). Product data also forms the product domain that must be aligned with the location domain, asset domain, party domain and perhaps other domains in your MDM world.

How these disciplines stick together within your organization and your digital ecosystem was further examined in the post How MDM, PIM and DAM Stick Together.

Party Master Data and the Data Subject

Within the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) the term data subject is used for the persons for whom we must protect the privacy.

These are the persons we handle as entities within party Master Data Management (MDM).

In the figure below the blue area covers the entity types and roles that are data subjects in the eyes of GDPR

Data Subjects

While GDPR is of very high importance in business-to-consumer (B2C) and government-to-citizen (G2C) activities, GDPR is also of importance for business-to-business (B2B) and government-to-business (G2B) activities.

GDPR does not cover unborn persons which may be a fact of interest in very few industries as for example healthcare. When it comes to minors, there are special considerations within GDPR to be aware of. GDPR does not apply to deceased persons. In some industries like financial services and utility, the handling of the estate after the death of a person is essential, as well as knowing about that sad event is of importance in general as touched in the post External Events, MDM and Data Stewardship.

One tough master data challenge in the light of GDPR will be to know the status of your registered party master data entities. This also means knowing when it is a private individual, a contact at an organization or an organization or department hereof as such. From my data matching days, I know that heaps of databases do not hold that clarity as reported in the post So, how about SOHO homes.

Varying Views on the MDM Market 2017

The Information Difference MDM Landscape Q2 2017 is out.

In the survey behind the vendor with the happiest customers was Agility Multichannel, followed closely by EnterWorks, then Stibo Systems, then Orchestra Networks and Informatica.

If you look at the positioning below these are by the way the ones with highest score on the technology axis (vertical) – but are not rated in the same order on the market strength axis (horizontal).

MDM Landscape Q2 2017
Source: Information Difference

The pack of vendors is organized by Information Difference only somewhat in line with Gartner as seen in the post Who will become Future Leaders in the Gartner Multidomain MDM Magic Quadrant?

Riversand and Tibco are not positioned by Information Difference, nor is Magnitude Software, which is the new wrap of Kalido, that had Andy Hayler of Information Difference as a founder.

Gartner did not position Agility Multichannel, Viamedici, Profisee, Terradata, Veeva and Talend in their quadrant.

All in all we see a market with a lot of unsettled business also considering exciting newer players as Reltio, Semarchy and Uniserv.

The Need for Data in Master Data Management

For nearly a decade we have lived with the Gartner 7 building blocks of MDM.

The 7 blocks encompassing vision, strategy, metrics, governance, organization, processes and technology was recently touched here on the blog in the post The Need for a MDM Vision.

Yesterday Justine Rodian of Stibo Systems wrote Why 7 Master Data Management Building Blocks Aren’t Enough Anymore: Revisiting Gartner’s Best Practice Model.

Block 8 proposed herein, based on a presentation by former Gartner analyst John Radcliffe, is data. I have no problem with that. I think data has been there always as the foundation for information leading to knowledge and topped by wisdom.

Yep, let’s include data in Master Data Management.

MDMDG 2013 wordle

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

The Need for a MDM Vision

Many of the MDM programs we see are increasingly tactical rather than enterprise in nature. This observation was examined in the previous post on this blog as well as in the comments. If you missed it, check out Do we need better business decisions about MDM?

MDM BlocksA crucial point is that organizations have a MDM vision. The need for a MDM vision was also the top block in the seven building blocks of MDM proposed by John Radcliffe, when John worked at Gartner (the analyst firm).

In here, John advised that there should be one unifying, strategic MDM vision that needs to reflect the organization’s business vision. However, due to internal politics and entrenched working practices a pragmatic, step-by-step approach is necessary for the entire organization to embrace the vision.

Does your organization have a MDM vision? What is included in the MDM vision? How is the vision embraced by various organizational entities?