Gravitational Collapse in the PIM Space

All organisations have critical business processes. In today’s data driven world, business success depends on the quality of data that underpins your critical business processes, and flows between them.

On 12th Feb 2016, the UK Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) published a “Data Review” of how 50 firms in the Insurance Industry assess the quality of data that underpins the validity and integrity of one of their most important business processes, their Solvency II Internal Model”.

Regardless of the industry you are in, I recommend that you read the review. It contains examples of good practice, but also many “war stories” showing where firms got it wrong. One recurring theme is the failure of firms to realise the dependency between upstream and downstream business processes, and the data flow between them.

On 21st Feb 2016, I read an excellent post by Henrik Lilliendahl that I have re-blogged here. Henrik’s post deals with Product Information Management (PIM) and is completely independent of the Insurance Industry or Solvency II. Yet Henrik has summarised brilliantly the relationship between upstream and downstream business processes (business partners), and the need for a “Data Broker Service” between them.

The previous post on this blog was called Gravitational Waves in the MDM World. Building further on space science, I would like to use the concept of gravitational collapse, which is the process that happens when a star or other space object is born. In this process, a myriad of smaller objects are gathered into a more dense object.

PIM (Product Information Management) is part of the larger MDM (Master Data Management) world. PIM solutions offered today serves very well the requirements for organizing and supporting the handling of product information inside each organization.

However, there is an instability when observing two trading partners. Today, the most common mean to share product data is to exchange one or several spreadsheets with product identification and product attributes (sometimes also called properties or features). Such spreadsheets may also contain links to digital assets being product images, line drawing documents, installation…

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