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

PIM and PDS

Product Information Management (PIM) has a sub discipline called Product Data Syndication (PDS).

PIM and PDS

While PIM basically is about how to collect, enrich, store and publish product information within a given organization, PDS is about how to share product information between trading partners. One challenge here is that two trading partners very seldom use the same product classification system(s), taxonomy and structure for product information.

Some PIM vendors offer PDS as extensions to their PIM offerings. Examples are Stibo Systems and Salsify. Other MDM (Master Data Management) / PIM vendors are facilitating PDS through general data integration services in their wider data management offerings. Examples are Informatica and Dell Boomi.

Product Data Synchronization is a variant concept of PDS. The most known service is the Global Data Synchronization Network (GSDN) operated by GS1 through data pool vendors, where 1WorldSync is the dominant one. In here trading partners are following the same classification, taxonomy and structure for a group of products (typically food and beverage) and their most common attributes in use in a given geography.

However, from working as a consultant in the MDM and PIM space i know that there are lots of organizations who cannot utilize the current offerings in a cost effective way and having all their needs for covering the many product attributes you need to share today as well as product relationships and the related digital assets. This is the reason why we have launched a Product Data Syndication service called Product Data Lake.

MDM Megavendors vs the Other MDM Vendors

In the latest Gartner Master Data Management Solutions magic quadrant it is stated that “Gartner-estimated 2016 revenues of the four largest vendors commanded over 77% of the market (SAP, IBM, Oracle and Informatica). These four held a Gartner-estimated market share of just over 73% in 2017.”

There seems to be a little decrease in the dominance from the megavendors, though the market according to Gartner is still ruled by the big four. The number of licenses sold by these vendors and those midsize vendors who also are in the quadrant can be found in the post Counting MDM Licenses.

For the future trend it is also worth noticing, that Oracle is not a part of the MDM magic quadrant anymore, as Oracle in the Gartner lingo is not an MDM vendor, but an ADM vendor today. Oracle is not included in the latest Forrester MDM wave either.

Another market distinction is around MDM versus Product Information Management (PIM) solutions. The post Several Sources of Truth about MDM / PIM Solutions examines the positioning by Gartner and Forrester and in that sense the magavendors are better at MDM than PIM.

Any Gartner estimation will be biased towards large vendors having large clients as these are the Gartner clients. In a LinkedIn discussion a big four person suggested that the market is fragmented and there are many MDM-like solutions.

This remark followed the market estimation from a fresh market report from Information Difference. The positioning results from here were shown in the post Movements in the MDM Vendor Landscape 2019. In here the megavendors did not perform so well on the technology axis, which is largely made up by customer satisfaction feedback in the underlying survey.

So, what do you think? Will the megavendors still rule the MDM market or will the midsize and smaller vendors get a larger piece of the cake?

MDM megavendors

For bigger picture click here.

The Soft Sides of MDM and PIM RFPs

Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) solutions are, as many other enabling technologies, often purchased using a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

In such a process the theory is that the buying organization, often with the help from an external consultancy, states the functional and non-functional requirements, measure the solutions against these requirements using a weighted score model and then objectively selects the solution with the highest score.

In practice there are in my experience some more subjective and soft sides to this process. This is not at least the case in the longlist/shortlist phase and when taking the final decision. I have seen my share of overruling the scoring.

One aspect is the geographical presence of the vendor. This includes where the solution provider is based and of course also the presence around the world through local offices and partner network as told in the post Mapping MDM and PIM Solutions.

Another aspect is the subject matter expertise shown by the vendor. This includes written material provided but also available on website and blogs and of course during presentations. An example could be the emphasis on master data versus product information as exemplified in the post MDM, PIM or Both.

I have had the fortunate opportunity of being at both sides of the table during the years and are still doing that as shown in the article about Popular Offerings.

MDM PIM RFP

Mapping MDM and PIM Solutions

There are several parameters considered by organizations on the look for solutions that handles Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) or both. One is how MDM’ish or PIM’ish the solution is as examined in the post MDM, PIM or Both.

Another aspect is the geographical presence. This includes where the solution provider is based and of course also the presence around the world through local offices and partner network.

Here are some of the solution providers from North America and Europe on a map:

MDM World Map

Reltio is a Silicon Valley based MDM provider. Learn more about Reltio Cloud here.

Semarchy has moved their head quarter to Silicon Valley but has their origin and most of the operation still in Lyon, France. Learn more about Semarchy xDM here.

Riversand is coming out of Houston, Texas. Learn more about Riversand here.

EnterWorks is based in Sterling, Virginia. Learn about Enterworks here.

CONTENTSERV is head quartered in Baar, Switzerland. Learn more about CONTENTSERV here.

SyncForce is located in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Learn about SyncForce here.

Dynamicweb PIM is from Aarhus, Denmark. Learn more about Dynamicweb PIM here.

Informatica is another Silicon Valley firm. Informatica has bought firms from around the world as lately Toronto, Canada based AllSight, now branded as Informatica Customer 360 Insights. Learn more about Informatica Customer 360 Insights here.

Magnitude and Agility® are now married. They are respectively located in Austin, Texas and York, UK. Learn more about Magnitude MDM here and learn more about Agility here.

Where is your (preferred) MDM / PIM solution located? – and what is the world reach?

MDM, PIM, CX and User Types

Customer Experience (CX) is a trendy driver for Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM).

When talking about CX we may have to distinguish between 3 main kind of user types:

  • Consumers (in households)
  • Small Office, Home Office (SOHO) users
  • Corporate users

CX user types

The critical differences between pleasing consumers in B2C and pleasing business users in B2B was discussed in the post B2C vs B2B in Product Information Management. A crucial distinction is the use of data as told in the post Where to Buy a Magic Wand?

Business users can be divided into those in small self-owned business’s as craftsmen, farmers, small shop owners, freelance consultants and many more and then corporate users who buys on behalf of a legal entity typically within a team of users.

There are intersections of customer experience preference patterns between these groups and then we are all humans regardless of our role in time. Earlier this year I presented a webinar, hosted by Riversand, on this topic. Find the link and the introduction in the post The relation between CX and MDM.

Solutions for Handling Product Master Data and Digital Assets

There are three kinds of solutions for handling product master data and related digital assets:

  • Master Data Management (MDM) solutions that are either focussed on product master data or being a multi-domain MDM solution covering the product domain as well as the party domain, the location domain, the asset domain and more.
  • Product Information Management (PIM) solutions.
  • Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions.

According to Gartner Analyst Simon Walker a short distinction is:

  • MDM of product master data solutions help manage structured product data for enterprise operational and analytical use cases
  • PIM solutions help extend structured product data through the addition of rich product content for sales and marketing use cases
  • DAM solutions help users create and manage digital multimedia files for enterprise, sales and marketing use cases

The below figure shows what kind of data that is typically included in respectively an MDM solution, a PIM solution and/or a DAM solution.

MDM PIM DAM

This is further elaborated in the post How MDM, PIM and DAM Stick Together.

The solution vendors have varying offerings going from being best-of-breed in one of the three categories to offering a OneStopShopping solution for all disciplines.

If you are to compile a list of suitable and forward-looking solutions for MDM, PIM and/or DAM for your required mix, you can start looking at The Disruptive List of MDM/PIM/DAM solutions.

Who is on The Disruptive MDM / PIM List?

The Disruptive Master Data Management Solutions List is a sister site to this blog. This site is aimed to be a list of available:

  • Master Data Management (MDM) solutions
  • Customer Data Integration (CDI) solutions
  • Product Information Management (PIM) solutions
  • Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions.

You can use this site as an alternative to the likes of Gartner, Forrester, MDM Institute and others when selecting a MDM / CDI / PIM / DAM solution, not at least because this site will include both larger and smaller disruptive MDM solutions.

Vendors can register their solutions here and the crowd, being processional users, can review the solutions.

So far these solutions have been listed:

Reltio thumb

Reltio provides all the benefits of cloud like simplicity, scale, and security. On top of that, Reltio breaks down data silos by providing a unified data set with personalized views of data across departments like sales, marketing and compliance. Learn more about Reltio Cloud here.

thumbnailRiversand is an innovative global pioneer in information management. The powerful MDM, PIM and DAM solution help enterprises to transform their raw data into an engine of growth by making data usable, useful and meaningful. Learn more about Riversand here.

Semarchy IconSemarchy xDM is a platform that enables Intelligent MDM and Collaborative Data Governance. It leverages smart algorithms, an agile design, and scales to meet enterprise complexity with solid ROI. Learn more about Semarchy xDM here.

Contentserv thumbContentserv offers a real-time Product Experience Platform being recognized and recommended by international analysts as one of the top worldwide innovators and strong performers in the PIM & MDM space. Learn more about Contentserv here.

ewEnterWorks, which recently was joint with Winshuttle is a multi-domain master data solution for acquiring, managing and transforming a company’s multi-domain master data into persuasive and personalized content for marketing, sales, digital commerce and new market opportunities. Learn about Enterworks here.

SyncForce-plus-icon

SyncForce helps international consumer & professional packaged goods manufacturers realize Epic Availability. With SyncForce, your product portfolio is digitally available with a click of a button, in every shape and form, both internal and external. Learn about SyncForce here.

Dynamicweb thumb

Dynamicweb PIM brings you fewer applications, integrations and systems. It is fast and inexpensive to implement and maintain, because it is part of an all-in-one platform for omni-channel commerce. Learn more about Dynamicweb PIM here.

Agility thumbAgility® empowers marketers to acquire, enrich and deliver accurate and timely product content through every touchpoint, channel and region along with the analytical support required to maximize effectiveness in the market. Learn more about Agility here.

Magnitude thumbMagnitude Software’s Master Data Management solution offers enterprises the core capabilities to model multiple data entities, harmonize the data sources and manage governance processes for reference data and master data. Learn more about Magnitude MDM here.

AllsightAllSight, which is now a part of Informatica, is using state-of-the-art AI-driven technology in an MDM and Customer 360 solution. AllSight matches and links all customer data and provides multiple views of the customer for different users.

Smallest

Product Data Lake, which is affiliated to this blog, is a cloud service for sharing product master data in the business ecosystems of manufacturers, distributors, merchants, marketplaces and large end users of product information. Learn more about Product Data Lake here.

Disruptive MDM M and A

 

The Need for Speed in Product Information Flow

One of the bottlenecks in Product Information Management (PIM) is getting product data ready for presentation to the buying audience as fast as possible.

Product data travels a long way from the origin at the manufacturing company, perhaps through distributors and wholesalers to the merchant or marketplace. In that journey the data undergo transformation (and translation) from the state it has at the producing organization to the state chosen by the selling organization.

However, time to market is crucial. This applies to when a new product range is chosen by the merchant or when there are changes and improvements at the manufacturer.

At Product Data Lake we enable a much faster pace in these quests than when doing this by using emails, spreadsheets and passive portals.

Take two minutes to test if your company is exchanging product data at the speed of a cheetah or a garden snail.

Cheetah