Digital Product Catalogue’s

June 28, 2006

I have recently been asked if Microsoft has a defined ‘go to market solution for a digital product Catalogue. So this catalogue idea (as i get my head round quickly developing thought patters) is a document management system, tightly integrated into the customers existing legacy systems that pan across the channels of their route to market such as stores, mail order and the internet. It ensures one, common view/product description and information out to the customer base and is known and a Product Information Management Solution within the industry. An effective Product Information Management (PIM) solution centralises the management of factual and descriptive information and assets relating to a company’s products. This provides increased control and communications consistency across whichever channel or territory the company is operating in.

While many companies have addressed organisational efficiencies from the supply chain perspective, many are yet to introduce the same concept to their marketing and sales operations. For most it doesn’t make sense to try and extend already complex supply chain technologies to offer these facilities due to the mission critical nature of these systems. It also makes no sense to manage such core marketing information in a channel-specific application such as a web content management system.

In a standard deployment this form of solution would take a data feed from a supply chain system (such as S.A.P. for example), which would supply core factual information which would then be enhanced and categorised by product, merchandising and marketing personnel.

Access to this validated product information is then opened up meaning that other stakeholders can collaborate and enrich the product information. This may be between internal departments or can involve external parties such as copywriting, media or photographic agencies.

A central single-entry data repository provides the consistency and discipline to mobilise product information as a strategic asset. You can rest safe in the knowledge that your product information is accurate and complete – ready to deploy across the business!

So do we at Microsoft have something to do this? The answer is no but we do have the component parts to make such a solution that would be bespoke to the customers requirements and have the richness of tight integration with their existing Microsoft investments. From a user point of view we would be familiar and the training implications would be negligible in comparison to solutions from IBM for e.g. I am going to discuss this idea and concept further with our Retail gurus to investigate whether this is something we should invest in – once I know more i’ll post the outcome.

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2 Responses to “Digital Product Catalogue’s”

  1. Micky said

    So what about the Microsoft Commerce Server catalog ?

  2. CloudStore said

    Even the few product catalog systems I have worked with hardly had rich digital content management besides simply capturing the images.

    For example, show me a commercial system that can do something that is done at our website http://www.tocloud.com/cloudstore/ , an example of an Image Cloud (a tag cloud concept applied to images), essentially a Web 2.0 concept applied to Online Product Catalogs! Instead of lots of clicks, users can actually find information quickly and effectively without much of an effort.

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