The Master Data Management world stands on two pillars: Party Data Management and Product Information Management. There are specific solutions designed to manage customer data or products information.
In fact, Most MDM initiatives are focused on a single type of Master Data. The most common areas are Party Data Integration (including Customer Data Integration, CDI and Supplier Master Data Management) and Product Information Management (PIM). Solutions that allow managing information in multiple domains called multi-domain MDM.
Actualog is a Product Information Solution. Initially we were planning to focus on product information only. However, it became clear immediately that without company data quality it is impossible ensure product data quality. We have to know who is a producer for brand products, and we have to put a B2B product in context of its business environment, distributors, customers, service providers, research organisations. It means that we have to build integration with external systems and (or) implement functionality in Actualog to manage information about customer, suppliers, distributors, service and research organizations and other parties.
Why always when we talk about new IT solutions for business, we first talk about the problems that they solve? Why do we sell solutions as a remedy that relieves customer pain rather than as jewelry, furs, fine wine and other wonderful things that make this world even better?
Of course, wonderful things can be useful and even solve problems. We do not buy that kind of things for the sake of a simple useful feature, but to get closer to an ideal.
Sometimes the desire for an ideal solves problems more effectively than the straightforward approach.
At the end of August in Lappeenranta University of Technology two groups of students were solving Actualog case during Erasmus Summer School 2013 Open Innovation Clinic.
Lots of modern ideas and concepts were analysed in context of developing community of experts.
Motivation represents one of key factors to achieve success in promoting participation at online communities. Intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivations for experts were compared.
The paradox is that we need less open experts community to ensure open innovation. Ease of obtaining the status of an expert makes it less attractive. Why people are still writing articles in Wikipedia where it is so easy to edit any article? You don’t have to prove your expertise in advance and just write valuable content.
The idea of the “Register of innovative products” is actively discussed in Russia today. The reason behind is the government ambitions to stimulate innovations in state companies and large monopolies.
We believe that a “Register of innovative products” could be created only as a part of the “Global product register”. If you want to decide if a product or a technology is truly “innovative” you have to compare it with all other existing products or technologies at the same category.
Actualog highlights innovations, allows comparing products’ technical characteristics.
Moreover, “innovative product” is not an equivalent of “new product”. Innovation is quite subjective for the end user. Using the complete register of products that includes products at all lifecycle stages companies could make a choice to ensure innovations.
Actualog had participated in RAO/CIS Offshore 2013. The event demonstrated the global nature of the industry. Operating all over the world companies face the complexity of product information managemnt in a distributed environment.
After the even we have some new companies in Actualog Oil&Gas Community.
How many different products are there in the world?
To answer the question we have to define what the product is. It is not easy taking into account that some products might have different modifications.
If we put the same clips into the big and the small box, will it be the same product or two different products? If different packaging makes products different?
Other question, if we have two magnetic resonance scanners and one is white and other is silver is it the same product? We all know that color is not important in that case.
The question become even more Jesuitical if we imagine the same substances in tubes of the same size but with different brand names. Absolutely, marketing can create an enormous number of products even without touching the production.
Why do we want to count all the products? Do we want to imagine the complexity of the modern logistic chains, diversity of the modern production or just estimate the size of the product database?
There is one practical approach to estimate the number of products. First, we have to estimate the number of different product categories. Product category is the group of products with the same attributes, like «mobile phones» or «magnetic resonance scanners». We can estimate the amount of product categories using existing product classifiers.
For example, eCl@ass has about 14 000 product categories. UN SPSC has more than 40 000 commodity titles. GS1 has assigned more than a million producing company codes and each company could issue bar codes for its products. We can say for sure that there are millions of products in same industries, auto parts are in millions, chemical substances are in millions. Some categories has lots of products and other – just a few.
The answer is that there are tens of thousands of categories, and some categories might have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of products, and others – several products or a few dozen.
In practice, companies deal with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of different products. NATO can boast with several millions items of supply in the database. Anyway, no one deals with all the complexity of products.
In Actualog, we create a list of complex technical products and we expect to have several million products.
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Actualog Expert Network unites employees of the companies-manufacturers, their customers and independent experts.
The experts create a classifier, define product categories and their characteristics.
We invite producers, clients and independent professionals to join Actualog Expert Community.
Four steps to become an Actualog Expert:
- Register in Actualog
- Complete you personal profile
- Choose communities you want to join as an expert
- Find new colleagues worldwide and share your knowledge
After a quick moderation you will have access to the categories and will be able to work together with colleagues from around the world.
We prove that product information management could be affordable to any company, even for small organisations. Everyone can benefit from data quality.