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Role of Product Information Management (PIM) in Global Data Synchronization (GDSN) and Data Pools

By Harpal Singh

On October 22, 2015

We have come full circle on the data pools, from the rush of the early days of data pool proliferation to the data pool consolidation of today. To say the least industry has realized the importance of data pools, especially the established ones in the global supply chain.

One important question is always being asked by suppliers is – Is my data in the optimum quality and with all attributes before I send (publish) this to the data pool?

Similarly on the receiving end – retailers ask the question where I should put the data once I receive it and can I continue to manage the quality.

Fortunately we have an answer.

In the phase 1 of the data pool integration it was about how can I pull all my core product attributes into an excel spreadsheet and load into the data pool connector tools and publish to or subscribe from data pools. I want to quality what I mean by data pool connector tools – There are the tools with specific functionality to connect to the data pools, transform the data as per the standards and publish/subscribe the data. In the initial days they had a very limited functionalities and were not PIM applications but have now added some PIM functionalities. There are some new players in the market who are coming from the PIM side and moving to the connector business.

Click for larger view.
Click for larger view.

Hope you get the picture, some vendors are moving from connector to PIM side and others from PIM to connector side. In both of these cases goal is to have one system which can act as the enterprise PIM system with data pool connector features.

Why do I need PIM for data pools? There are more than one reasons here:

  1. Digital commerce and the need for data quality: More and more retailers need quality, accurate product information to make sure the product is displayed with correct information across digital channels. This is for the quality and consistency of the product information
  2. Regulation : There are government regulations across the various industry verticals – example GUDID (GUDID) for healthcare medical device manufacturers to the EU 1119 (EU-1169) for the pre-packaged food industry players
  3. Governance: All of my product data is once place in PIM and suppliers and retailers can review, enrich and approve as per the internal data quality standards and the data pool standard
  4. Efficiency and Orchestration: Data pool integration at the business and technical level is not a single transaction like publish into an enterprise service bus and forget. It involves various steps like submitting the item, checking for registration, checking for subscription etc. etc. PIM with data pool connectors provides these functionalities and adhere to the data pool synchronization and orchestration protocols
  5. Data Model Flexibility: With each data pool having its own data model, it’s hard to keep up. PIM application provides support for the data pool specific model, core attributes, target market attributes, industry attributes all in one central place. So an enterprise can adhere to the data model as per their internal enterprise model and can also extend /adjust as per the data pool mandated data models. In short PIM applications are designed to handle such scenarios and offer great flexibility

PIM applications with data pool connectors are being adopted more and more across various industry segments, though in some adoption is more – like consumer packaged goods (CPG), manufacturing/industrial etc.

As a supplier you have a choice now when it comes to choosing these PIM applications with data pool connectors and should looks at end to end requirements before choosing the right PIM. In some other blog I will talk more about the features and functions you should looks for these PIM applications with data pool connectors.