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PIM: Denition, Purpose and Offering
PIM is MDM applied to the Product Informationdomain. MDM is a
for ensuringthat an organization does not use multiple (potentiallyinconsistent) versions of the same Master Data in differentparts of its operations. (Note the italics in the previoussentence: MDM is a
, not a technologysolution.) The need for MDM comes from the plethoraof systems—nine on average, according to a 2010 surveyby Information Difference—that generate product Master Data. MDM is enabled through alignment of multipleinformation technologies, business process improvements,and organizational commitments.Short of having the above three components—alignmentof multiple information technologies, business processimprovements, and organizational commitments—youdo not have MDM. In those instances, an MDM pure-technology solution, whether it is a PIM solution or something else, will not solve the problem. You have tolook at your business process and your information supplychain, and you have to look at how you are going to governthat process and that data. Who is going to decide whichattributes you are going to collect for a product category?Who is going to say that the Brand attribute, in Electronics,is mandatory in order to sell the product? Who is going tounderstand the impact of mandating that information on your supply chain and on your vendors?
Commonly Used MDM Terms
Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN)
is an international communication protocol led byGS1, that enables companies around the globe toexchange standardized and synchronized supply chaindata with their trading partners (e.g., betweenmanufacturers, distributors, and retailers). Theprimary focus of GSDN is on the supply chain,especially dimensions—not just the assembleddimensions of the product—but the inner pack,the pack, the box, the number of boxes per pallet, theUPC for the box, for the pallet, for the pack and inner pack, and so on and so forth. There is less emphasison the faceted contents such as the rich attributionassociated with a category.
Global Product Classification (GPC)
is a GS1standard for the purpose of categorizing products.All of us have our own concepts of categorization.With GPC there is a shared view of categorization.
Data Governance (DG)
is the formal orchestrationof people, processes, and technology across anorganization to enable the leveraging of data as anenterprise asset. DG is typically put in place when anorganization finds out that data is an asset in thesame way that factories, workers, and knowledgeare assets.
Customer Data Integration (CDI)
is the equivalentof PIM but is focused on customer information. Itconsists of processes and technologies for recognizing a customer and their relationships at anytouch-point, while aggregating, managing, andharmonizing accurate, consistent, complete, and up-to-date knowledge about that customer to deliver it just in time in an actionable form to touch-points.
is an MDM solution toconcurrently manage multiple, diverse Master Datadomains (customers, accounts, products) acrossintra- and extra-enterprise business processes.The idea behind Multi-Entity MDM is to build MDMthat cuts across categories, whether they areproducts, vendors, locations, or customers.
Business Drivers for PIMImplementation
The primary business driver for PIM implementation is theretailer’s need to shorten the New Product Introduction(NPI) cycle. A retailer’s motive for shortening the NPIcycle is simple: by doing so she gets more time to sell theproduct. A PIM solution can help to reduce the NPI cycle byenabling the retailer to do the following:
• Reconsider and redefine its unique, proprietary
workflows. This makes it possible to remove humanbottlenecks and streamline operations. A WorkflowEngine should be part of a PIM solution. It allows theretailer to orchestrate the flow of informationassociated with products, whether it is collection, validation, or approval. Because of the need todescribe the retailer’s workflow inside the PIM, theimplementation of a PIM provides a great opportunityfor the Business Analysts to work with the Client—notonly to assess what exists and what the best practicesare—but also to investigate where and when theycan streamline the flow. An example of a workflowappears in Figure 2 on page 8.