Terry Stickler, Vice President of Marketing – North America at Stibo Systems, says:

It’s that time of year again … pumpkins are reduced to a distant memory; retailers are waiting with bated breath for shoppers; and Gartner Inc. (NYSE:IT) has released its annual Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Product Data Solutions. A tradition almost as popular as the fast approaching holidays, the report aims to provide insight into the constantly evolving packaged Master Data Management (MDM) system market, which focuses on managing product data to support supply chain management (SCM), e-commerce and other customer-related strategies. It also positions technology providers on the basis of their completeness of vision relative to the market as well as their ability to execute on that vision.

The ability to achieve and maintain a single, semantically consistent version of product master data is crucial for customer-centric organizations, and the market continues to grow. In fact, Gartner estimates that overall software revenue from the MDM for product data solutions market in 2013 came to $532 million, which represents an increase of 8.7 percent from 2012.

But what is MDM for product data exactly? Commonly referred to as Product Information Management (PIM), these end-to-end solutions enable organizations to merge and centralize product information across the enterprise to feed consistent, accurate and up-to-date information to multiple distribution channels. PIM solutions are designed to give an organization a single, consistent view of its product master data across the enterprise in order to deliver significant operational efficiencies and improve business performance. Common benefits include:

  • Companies can easily aggregate and consolidate product information from disparate systems and manage every aspect of each record including hierarchy, structure, attributes, validations, approvals and versioning.
  • Departments can share business information seamlessly with back-end systems and publish to customer-facing applications.
  • Organizations can have greater control over product information and associated attributes, which pave the way for omnichannel success.

According to Gartner businesses of all sizes and in many industries struggle to maintain a consistent, shareable and accurate single version of product or service data across their organizations. With the increasing focus on Big Data for enterprises, management of key master data is also becoming more important.

Having been named a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Product Data Solutions for the second consecutive year, Stibo Systems has helped teams in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, automotive, CPG, travel, hospitality and medical device industries to manage master data on a global scale. Using Stibo Systems’ STEP technology, customers are leveraging their product information assets and handling the complex product-oriented workflows needed to reconcile product and cross-channel consistencies in order to meet their omnichannel needs. Stibo Systems’ customers are being recognized for their efforts too:

  • Brady Corporation (NYSE:BRC) was chosen as the winner of the 2014 Ventana Technology Leadership Award for Information Optimization. Brady was acknowledged for its Product Information Management and Master Data Management initiative, which transformed content and data into assets that created an unrivaled end-to-end commercial customer experience for both internal and external customers. Using Stibo Systems’ MDM platform, STEP, Brady extended product information to distribution partners quickly so they could effectively promote Brady’s products.
  • W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW) was named a top three finalist in the Gartner Master Data Management (MDM) Excellence Awards 2013. Grainger was recognized for creating a single source of product information and a publishing environment that is used to facilitate product portfolio management, global merchandising and global marketing across all channels and customer targets. Made up of more than 3,500 suppliers, one million products and more than 16,000 data attributes, this “seamless single PIM platform” enables Grainger to fully leverage its information to create a true competitive advantage.
  • Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) was recognized as a 2013 Best Practices Awards Winner by TDWI. AAP was honored for leveraging STEP to achieve service leadership and superior product availability by streamlining its merchandising efforts and time to market, and increasing both revenue and customer satisfaction. This initiative also enabled the company to receive accurate information from manufacturers and to comply with Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) standards.

We applaud Gartner for helping to educate the market on PIM solutions because we know from our customers that what sounds simple, like updating product details and importing supplier information, can become a headache without the proper systems and processes. Effective Product Information Management is essential for intelligent decision making, for operational efficiency, and for cultivating and maintaining a robust information supply chain.