Part 1: Can eCommerce PCM Mess with Enterprise PIM?

This post was authored by Aditya Jain, Assistant VP of Services at Nvizion Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Nvizion delivers in-house innovative solutions and highly specialized consulting services based on industry leading platforms for the business domains like omni-channel commerce.

eCommerce PCM vs. PIM

Debunking the Myth that Product Content Management of eCommerce Solutions can Match up to Enterprise PIM

Enterprise PIM

Product Information Management concerns a set of processes and tools combined together, with the intent of centrally managing the product information. The primary motivation behind managing the product information centrally is to ensure a Single View of the product data across the Enterprise, including several Omnichannel Commerce touchpoints.

In Enterprise landscape, product data exists in multiple systems and data stores for, websites, print catalogs, Order processing and ERP systems, data exchanges and electronic data feeds. Within each of these systems/data sources, will persist a specialised manifestation of the product, well elaborated for the needs or purpose served by that system.

Purpose of Product Information Management is to maintain a master version of the product in its most generalized form, to ensure consistency and accuracy of product data across all systems. To achieve the same, this central or master data store would need to employ the best of product data management, data quality and data governance technologies and practices. It should also be possible to publish the product data to multiple other channels and systems which are part of the Omnichannel Commerce architecture.

This article evaluates Informatica MDM – Product 360 and Product Management apps of the leading Ecommerce platforms and highlights the key differences in capabilities keeping in mind the following primary purposes of Product Information Management:

  • Enrichment of Master Data for Products for sales and marketing
  • Data Governance and Business Process Management to make the right people do right things
  • Enhanced Data Quality Profiling for Products Data to automate 80%
  • Adherence to Industry Standards for Product Data and Data Syndication
  • Data Synchronization with Increased Agility

In this first part series, we will explore first two purposes of Product Information Management. In the second part, we will touch upon other three.

Product Data Enrichment

It is critical that the MDM technology allows modelling the data structure for ‘mastering’ product data as per the needs of the organisation. This data model would typically include basic product details, sales and marketing information about products, media attachments, features and attributes, product classification hierarchy, purchase prices and selling prices, logistics and consignment/shipment details, competitor analysis data.

The data model should support the ability to qualify data attributes by Supplier, Sales Channel, Market/Region. The data model should also support internationalization by way of managing data in multiple languages and currencies.

Many of these attributes are not included in the data model of the Ecommerce platforms, as compared to the data model defined in Informatica MDM – Product 360. Furthermore, minimal support is available in out of box data models to extend it to include the qualified fields or product attributes, which are qualified by custom attributes like Brand, Supplier or Market/Region. For instance, it is possible to manage purchase prices qualified by Region and Supplier, in Informatica MDM – Product 360.

Informatica MDM – Product 360, also, provides the paradigm and solution for staging supplier data in individual supplier catalogs, which can be merged into a common Master Catalog. Did you know that MDM – Supplier 360 is the next logical app to add from Informatica, as it helps streamline supplier collaboration and can be used in the same interface.

In Ecommerce platforms, the data model does not provide any guidelines for managing catalogs within a paradigm of multiple suppliers – single master catalog.

Moreover, restricting the design to maintain a single Master Catalog, in ecommerce platforms impacts their ability to support multiple sites, where, each web site requires one Online Catalog assigned to it.

Data Quality and Governance

For most agile and well laid out business processes, it is essential that both workflows engine and data quality engine are well integrated with the Product 360. These engines when brought together should allow and support modelling of business processes for managing product data, with the purpose of achieving higher degrees of Compliance and Data Quality, without comprising on the Business Agility.

Data Governance and Business Process Management

Informatica BPM supports BPEL, which makes it possible to design and model even the most complex workflows. Its out of box integration with Product 360 using rest services for Data Quality results and tasks, makes it possible to best utilise the BPEL features like conditional branching, loops, decisions, message & timer driven interrupts, come handy when designing use cases for product data governance.

On the other hand, most of the Ecommerce PCM (Product Content Management) apps have integrated bespoke workflow engines which are more suitable for modelling simpler linear workflows. Extending these frameworks to design more elaborate and dependable workflows for data governance, would prove to be high effort initiative.

We would like to hear your thoughts via comments. Please let us know. Read Part 2 of “Can eCommerce PCM mess with enterprise PIM?” In this, we will explore the following three capabilities.

  • Enhanced Data Quality Profiling for Products Data
  • Adherence to Industry Standards for Product Data and Data Syndication
  • Data Synchronization with Increased Agility