Prelude At the outset, apologize to SDN community for much delayed second part. Hope to make no room for further apologies by maintaining regular and continued presence in this space. For those who have not read my previous weblog on this subject, I would recommend to just go thru that weblog once, so that they get a better hang of what we have started talking about as a series from my last weblog onwards. A quick link to previous weblog: MDM 5.5 – Diversity is the Beauty! The focus of these articles remain as to discuss the applicability of MDM 5.5 in various Business contexts rather than being too technical on the product per se. This article discusses in detail what are the requirements of a CPG/Retail market leader and how MDM 5.5 can cater to them. There is much more to come in this series. In the forthcoming weblogs we will see MDM can help to Hi-Tech industries. For now we will stick to our business storyline. I will assume the role of client for defining the requirements and then will step into the shoes of a solution provider. A Business Storyline – Using MDM 5.5 for Product CatalogsA global CPG/Retail client – For Product Catalog requirements This company wants to publish its product information on the web so that its stake holders, customers, vendors, employees, registered users and guest visitors can get the value out of it. We will see how MDM 5.5 can help this global CPG client to publish product information on the internet using Web Catalogs and how it can be extended to tap multiple business opportunities. The Business Background Our fictitious organization named as XYZ Inc., is a market leader in CPG/Retail segment and was founded way back in 1964. The conglomerate is getting yet bigger thru mergers and acquisitions as its key strategies. Backed by over forty years of experience the group attributes its market leadership through its products which give value for money to customers and are an outcome of innovative design, ideas and strategies. Highlights of the company • Group turnover is USD 1.5 billion • Number of employees worldwide – 2000 • Headquartered in San Diego CA • Spread across 15 countries • Operate out of manufacturing sites – 33 in US, Europe and Middle East Products portfolio Following is the diverse range of products offered by XYZ, Inc.: • Consumer Electronics • Toiletries • Refrigerators • Small appliances • Air conditioners • Oral care products Business Drivers Following is a snapshot of the Business drivers 1. To penetrate into the developing markets which are not explored yet through its channels and distributors 2. Harnessing the strength of Sales-over-the-Net with Physical distribution 3. To develop the ways to quickly update the product information on the Net having secure backend interface 4. To develop a platform which has the capability to cater to futuristic vision and requirements Business Objectives • A website where XYZ can provide all product information with a focus on hot products • A product catalog website where customers can buy the products over the internet • A product catalog website which provides extensive and fast search capabilities to customers • A product information catalog website where customers can register as the privileged members • A safe and secure website where stake holders, customers, vendors, employees and guest visitors can log on and get benefited by its ease of operation • A product catalog website which is easy maintainable and can be used for future developments • A website which is user friendly and response time is quick Requirements laid down by XYZ,Inc. 1. Online Web Catalog requirements The company wants to publish its product information on the web so that its stake holders, customers, vendors, employees and guest visitors can get the value out of it. The rationale behind this requirement is to provide a ONE STOP SHOP for all company products. This online catalog contains global information about all the products of XYZ Inc. XYZ Inc does not want to limits these online catalogs just to its customers. Instead these catalogs will contain multi-dimensional information about XYZ’s products which can be used by its stake holders, customers, employees, vendors as well as guests, as relevant. A few examples may be: a) By means of online catalog XYZ Inc is always open for business with its customers b) Technical specification repository for ready reference for employees c) Promotional special schemes for employees d) Online website for vendors to sign in and update information about the products supplied by them to XYZ e) EH&S information/other dimensions/properties or documentation etc. of the products useful for employees f) Training and development Extent of availability of specific information of any product should be managed by the access control for these entities (its stake holders /customer /employees / vendors /registered users / guests). 2. Publishing catalogs based on various data: The company intends to use extensively print publishing of Product catalogs on the web. This will require the capabilities of rich product-content management and cross-media catalog publishing. It should allow the company to consolidate, centrally manage, and publish disparate product data across the enterprise and between trading partners. The system should be scalable to handle to handle millions of products along with image management capabilities. 3. FAQs This requirement is to put the standard set of Frequently Asked Questions available in the portal along with the standard answers. The picking up of a specific question will be triggered from the search of free text, category, taxonomy etc. Since this set of FAQs will be standard therefore the requirement will be to make it available to various users of website e.g. customer, employees, vendors and guests. It is also important to have access control based on the information an FAQ may contain. Reusability of the FAQs is one important aspect for consideration while maintaining uniqueness of some of the FAQs which may be to applicable only to specific regions, sectors, or product group etc. 4. Guest Tracking This requirement is to track the information looked up by the guest visitors. The idea is to find out those product groups or areas which are visited frequently by different people. This information can be used to give thrust and special attention to these areas. The system should also be able to give different reports. 5. Product modeler and simulator This requirement is to give facility to user or guest to develop and simulate a custom product of his / her choice. The website should provide various standard characteristics and values to a user or guest and once selected, system should be able to model/design and illustrate a product of his/her choice. The aim of this modeler is also to educate and enable a probable customer to choose the product of his/her choice. 6. Product Promotions Ads/ Newsletters This requirement is targeted to the customers and registered users. The website should give facility to the marketing department to proactively educate them and remain in touch. New product information/literature and newsletter should be distributed to the customers and registered users through approval mechanism. 7. Contact us/Information request process This requirement is to provide relevant information as asked by registered users. The functionality will have capability to allow a registered user to enter the request in various predefined request forms. The user should be able to locate his desired area using a free text search or through different drop down options. Based on the request area selected by the user the request should travel to appropriate authorization groups. This will require various business rules to be put in place to enable an authorization group to provide or deny access to the information asked by user. 8. New User registration process This requirement is to allow new users to register themselves. It is desirable that a genuine user enters valid information. Certain checks and validation need to be in place in order to register a new user. It should also have capability to send registered user name and password to user. 9. Search capability This is one of the most important and critical requirement. The success of an online web catalog will largely depend upon this factor. The user should be able to retrieve the information quickly. The response time should not be more than 3-4 seconds. The user should also be empowered by providing multiple options. These should be free text, by menu, through navigation, hierarchy, taxonomy etc. Another important aspect coupled with this search capability is that of access control. As mentioned earlier the access of various information should be based on user groups e.g. it will be different for customer, employee, vendors and registered users/guests. These are the requirements enumerated by XYZ, Inc. My role as client gets over here. Now is the time to step into the shoes of a Solution provider. We will see in the next article how MDM 5.5 addresses these requirements. It is worth to mention here again that this is one on the diverse business scenarios where MDM 5.5 can bring the transformation and we are going to take these diverse scenarios in the form of different business storylines.