Introduction and scope MDM 5.5 is different. Keeping this in view this article and subsequent articles are intended to give a different insight to those having prior knowledge of MDM 3.0 and yet operating with the mindset that MDM 5.5 is just another MDM tool. This document is a starting point for the series which I am planning to publish in due course of time. Through various business storylines, we will see how transformation can happen by extending MDM 5.5 usage from merely master data management initiatives to much wider range of applications spanning from Web Publishing along with its core capabilities of distribution etc. Through these articles I will also share my experiences on MDM 5.5 with the prospective customers and MDM practitioners to discuss the diverse business scenarios where MDM 5.5 application can be extended and applied. The focus of these articles will remain as to discuss the applicability of MDM 5.5 in various Business contexts rather than being too technical on the product per se. Background My first rendezvous with MDM 3.0 was more out of curiosity. I come with a background where I had seen a lot of developments and project done in the area of Master Data Management. Most of the times it is more like a reinventing-the-wheel kind of situation for companies. They spend valuable resources, time and money in making these ends meet. These ends are nothing but the Business and IT demands of marrying a battery of multiple ERP and legacy systems to get uniform master data. Needless to mention, at the end of the day everything boils down to a source of trustworthy Master Data. Such efforts made by the companies always remain on an isolated island. There is no predefined ways and steps of doing the things in a standardized and proven ways. One always suffers from lack of experience and a place where one can go back and bench mark against the learning from somebody else or have a glance over the do’s and don’ts to make a correction in the course. MDM 3.0 Vs 5.5 – A Complete Overhaul Exploring MDM 3.0 was in line with my expectations. It was a product focusing on various activities around master data like consolidation, synchronization, distribution etc. Come MDM 5.5. And whole new sense of excitement begins. Reason is obvious there had been much news coming and going about this new release having a2i in backdrop and about the overhauling of the entire MDM package. Very first thing is its look and feel which is completely changed. Installation is simplified. Just keep clicking on various executable files and soon you will discover you are done with your MDM installation in couple of minutes!! Next best thing was the wash out of my prejudice that MDM is just another MDM tool!! With the passage of each day and after every hands on with MDM 5.5 I was discovering that this was no more just a tool for data consolidation, synchronization and distribution (as one might get prejudiced with 3.0 in back of the mind!) but much more than that. Simply put it has the potential to cater to a battery of diverse business needs. In essence, beauty of MDM 5.5 lies in its diversity. The need of the hour – giving Business perspective to MDM 5.5 There is a lot of work going into exploring the various components of MDM, its integration using XI, NetWeaver and many more. Thanks to a common platform – SDN-where various members keep sharing their innovative ideas, experiences and experiments on MDM 5.5 by publishing on SDN. Needless to mention, the technical work by these passionate guys will be the cement and concrete to execute the prospective MDM projects. The more the technical exploration the better and effective will be the implementations. However, an important area still remains less explored and less thought of. The area where these technical aspects of the product are translated into a language of Business. An area where the applicability of technology can be demonstrated to achieve the Business Drivers. This will help the IT decision makers sitting in the business echelon to understand and appreciate the benefits it can offer to achieve their Business Goals. Then only can come the mandate to implement it. Therefore it is important for any curious customer or for that matter to an MDM practitioner to understand what depths and breadths of the business it can cover and to what extent. MDM 5.5 – Tell me from Business context – What is different in it? Over a period of time I have experienced and now I foresee how MDM 5.5 can be applied to cater the diverse business needs. For someone it may seem to be like a bold and big statement. Agreed, the concerns are genuine; but momentarily until various business storylines are picked up and demonstrated using MDM 5.5. In fact MDM 5.5 has been enhanced with the capability to cater to the requirements like Product Information Catalogs, Web publishing etc. while maintaining Data Management (Master Data Consolidation, Synchronization and Distribution across various systems) as its core strength. Talking dry is enough now. Let us take diverse business storylines where the diversity of MDM 5.5 can be applied and demonstrated. These cases will be like a PARADIGM SHIFT for those yet thinking that MDM 5.5 is ONLY a tool for consolidation, synchronization and distribution. MDM 5.5 – Beauty lies in its diversity – HOW? Here is a snapshot of a few diverse business cases where MDM 5.5 can help: 1.A global CPG/Retail client – For Product Catalog requirements: This company wants to publish its product information on the web so that its customers, vendors, employees and guest visitors can get the value out of it. We will see how MDM 5.5 can help a global CPG client to publish product information on the internet using Web Catalogs. 2.A global manufacturing services company –To feed ERP system with Master data: This company has the specific requirement to feed its ERP system with latest information on Material Master, Bill of material etc. At the same time the company needs to interactive closely with its online customers and vendors. We will see how MDM 5.5 can help meet these specific requirements. 3.A global trading and distributing company – To offer best deal to customers: We will see in this story how a global trading and distributing company can be leveraged by MDM 5.5 to demonstrate it can offer best in the market. To make a head start with we will take the first business case. A Business Storyline – Using MDM 5.5 for Product CatalogsThe 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: •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? Scope of Requirements •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 So these are the typical Product Catalog related requirements of this specific Business case. Sounds interesting!! Now the million dollar question – Can MDM 5.5 cater to these requirements? Yes it can. We will step into the detailed solutioning part in the subsequent blogs.