How do you get value from MDM initiatives like Product Data Hub?
Why buy the software?
It usually takes twice the amount of money minimum to implement PIM as to buy the software. Is it worth it?
It can be worth it. It depends upon whether you’ve used the right criteria to make your decision. There are lots of nice graphic arts out there showing what PIM as a process will do for your organization. However, I believe the PIM Data Hub solution is a business driven process with a technical solution. Therefore, it is more expensive within than on the surface.
Wikipedia does a good high level job in defining “Product Information Management” and the principle consumers. I am going to copy and paste the definition and support it within this article to attempt to help you purpose a PIM Data Hub initiative if you find you need one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_information_management
Wikipedia link above states: “Product information management or PIM refers to processes and technologies focused on centrally managing information about products, with a focus on the data required to market and sell the products through one or more distribution channels. A central set of product data can be used to feed consistent, accurate and up-to-date information to multiple output media such as web sites, print catalogs, ERP systems, and electronic data feeds to trading partners. PIM systems generally need to support multiple geographic locations, multi-lingual data, and maintenance and modification of product information within a centralized catalog to provide consistently accurate information to multiple channels in a cost-effective manner.” The definition continues into another paragraph that states different channels of product data to the last sentences which state: “PIM in this example represents a solution for centralized, media-independent data maintenance for providing purchasing, production and communications data for repeated use on/in multiple IT systems, languages, output media and publications. It also provides a solution for efficient data collection, management, refinement and output.”
On a high level I can break down the above paragraph.
1) Business process driven implementation using a technology solution. More business involvement with less IT solutioning (off the shelf hub software).
2) Centralized system focusing on the information for marketing and selling products, but not forgetting the rest of the product data. It is a centralized set of product data.
3) Sending this product information to other distribution channels.
4) Supports multi languages and multiple geographical areas
5) Product data collection, maintenance, and management.
6) The system is feasible to use, maintain, implement, understand, integrate, and other mission critical cost basis. It should be technically feasible to implement. It should be proven to be possible by other clients who are using it (not always from the same industry).
All of these points describe business processes and standards versus technology. If your organization is not ready to take these points to the literal, then no hub product will be successful in your future. You should be doing these things to the best of your ability now.
Product Hub doesn’t have to replace the other systems if they do a great job at product definition for your organization. However, if the legacy system is too hard to get data in and out of, then consider the basic design of that system to be at fault and give replacement a serious consideration.
Is it worth it? If you cannot dedicate more internal product experts to learning how to use the system software to meet your product MDM needs, then you probably should consider cancelling or delaying the project until you can afford to use those resources.
It is worth it if you are losing customers because you can’t keep consistent on your product data to the point where you are producing invalid orders/quotes.
It is worth it if you have very complex products that require lots of rules in relationship to product feature and combinations of features.
It is worth it if you have very complex rules relating to who can buy your product by geographical, language, size of customer, customer type, or other product obligations like royalties.
It is worth it if you have many front end product creation systems that need synchronized often to eliminate redundancy.
It is worth it if you have to secure your product data in many different aspects of the same product data file.
It is worth it if you have to deliver a lot of web content data to multiple web based ordering or marketing systems depending on how many and how often.
It is worth it if you are tired of building and managing your own software applications to produce the same functionality that Oracle provides. This would also need to be measured by the cost of maintaining the software every year and still getting new functionality at the same rate Oracle delivers it.
It is worth it if you are looking to integrate a lot of product change management into the lifecycle of a sellable product.
It is NOT worth it if you need a complex pricing system for your product. It is worth it if you are integrating to a complex pricing system.
It is NOT worth it if you need it to be a complex design system like Agile/Oracle PLM. But it is worth it if you want to integrate to Agile.
It is NOT worth it if you have very limited tight budgets and no internal business resources to heavily contribute to the design of the project (hands ON!). This is not something to throw at the consultants and expect to receive something back useful.
I don’t believe I was “complete” in all the facts stated above by any sense of the word. But what I have mentioned above including the references to the wikipedia definition, I believe to be true.
I hope this helps you plan a better product MDM project.
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