What will happen with printed catalogs in the new digital B2B-commerce world?

One of the most difficult questions that everyone has to answer after an exhibition – what to do with this heap of catalogs? Yes, this is my little mountain of catalogs on the photo above, just a part of it.

Actualog offers a unique classifier and provides categories templates for forty industries, and I use those catalogs to define facets, categories and attributes.
Why it is necessary to use this heavy bulky catalogues? Continue reading “What will happen with printed catalogs in the new digital B2B-commerce world?”

Waiting for the Semantic Web: Product Information Management Perspective

“People want to be a part of something that is the future”

Marc Benioff, Behind the Cloud

Anyone who has just discovered the concept of Semantic Web wonders why, despite the apparent simplicity and usefulness of the concept, its deployment takes such a long time and still does not produce any noticeable effects on business. Why a framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries remains only a concept rather than a dominating standard? Continue reading “Waiting for the Semantic Web: Product Information Management Perspective”

Actualog: Powered by Windows Azure – опыт использования платформы

О компании

ACTUALOG – это универсальная B2B платформа для обмена информацией о продуктах и продуктовых каталогах между производителями, поставщиками и потребителями. Система предоставляет возможность организовать всю имеющуюся информацию с помощью универсального классификатора, который создается общими усилиями с привлечением сообщества экспертов.

Для удобного доступа различных групп компаний к большим объемам информации предусмотрена фильтрация по отраслевым сообществам. Это позволяет пользователям видеть только интересующие их разделы классификатора и до минимума сокращает необходимость сложной навигации по всеобъемлющему классификатору. Инновационный пользовательский интерфейс позволяет эффективно взаимодействовать потребителям, поставщикам и сообществу экспертов используя, в том числе, и такой современный способ коллективной работы как социальные сети.

Одной из важнейших функций системы является поддержка многоязычности, которая позволяет не только локализовать интерфейс пользователей из разных стран, но и хранить информацию о компаниях, продуктах и категориях на различных языках, предоставляет возможность создавать мультиязычные каталоги продукции.

С помощью относительно небольшого начального объема инвестиций   команде разработчиков удалось создать продукт с высокой степенью готовности к промышленной эксплуатации.
Continue reading “Actualog: Powered by Windows Azure – опыт использования платформы”

Actualog Social PIM introduction

Technology advances in connectivity and devices have changed the way we access and consume information. Companies are faced with a unique challenge of aggregating content from thousands of suppliers using disparate formats and processes into one user-friendly catalogue. Then the challenge of providing customers with rich product information that is current is next.

Since each customer uses the content to drive their own procurement initiatives, accuracy is mission-critical. A breakdown in reliable data can have a negative or positive ripple effect on profit margins as it flows across multiple enterprises.
To be effective in marketing, selling, manufacturing, distributing, and sourcing products requires more consistent and higher quality product information
80% of companies are not satisfied with the quality of information available about the products they purchase.

The development of new and sophisticated technical products significantly increases the amount and complexity of product-related data and content. Increasingly, organizations offer a large variety of products and variants.
To illustrate:

  • procurement professionals need up-to-date and accurate information about products;
  • engineers and designers are looking for information about new products and technologies;
  • sales and marketing specialists need to provide information about the products to their clients;
  • companies around the world need to share information about their products with unified multilingual material descriptions and conform to national technical standards.

In summary, companies are faced with the following problems:

  • Data Incompleteness;
  • Duplicates of product records;
  • Wrong, unreliable or outdated data;
  • Inconsistent formats for product characteristics;
  • Missing information about analogies, alternatives, and comparable products;
  • Missing text and media product information such as instructions and manuals;
  • Incomplete and erroneous product translations from foreign suppliers.

The market lacks a solution designed for this purpose, which could satisfy a broad range of companies and industries. Existing solutions are quite sophisticated and require enormous implementation efforts that makes them suitable only for big corporations, or have limited functionality and serve a narrow market segment. Moreover, product information management is a time-consuming process that requires a great deal of industry professionals’ time and effort
We believe that companies should invest more to ensure high data quality to remove the risk of having incomplete, duplicated, inconsistent and therefore unreliable information.

Actualog in Skolkovo

Actualog became a resident of the innovation center “Skolkovo” in November 2013.

Actualog is a cloud-based Social Product Information Management platform that brings together the expertise and knowledge of the manufacturers and most competent customers around the world.
Actualog helps companies to share information about products, materials and technologies focusing on complex technical products using the ideas of social interaction.
We provide a single version of truth about products.  «Create once, use many» is our motto.

Thinking that there has to be a different way of storing, managing, visualization and sharing information about complex products, materials and technologies, we have started to develop the concept of Social PIM platform.  Over three years of research and development, we had been created first version of the platform.

Actualog offers a rich set of functions for managing product information. However, we will continue research and development to make the product even better, and accomplishing our mission: “to allow business worldwide regardless their size benefit from the best practices in product information management”Skolkovo certificate

Why there is no Product Information Management without Party Data Integration

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.

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Register of innovative products: practical approach

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.