July 29, 2010 – A report from TDWI finds that as firms worldwide are modernizing for supply chains, they are improving functions for product data quality.

Product-oriented industries, such as manufacturing and retail, benefit from product data quality improvements, described in TDWI’s findings. Such benefits include helping to control procurement costs, manage supplier risk, raise the quality of goods and their services, optimize supply chains and manage warranty programs.
 
The TDWI Checklist Report on Product Data Quality points out the most pressing technology requirements for improving the quality of product data:

  1. Support product data’s diverse and complex standards. Standardization is the most common data quality technique, regardless of the data type. 
  2. Enhance product data with additional information. Even when product data is clean and standardized, its value can be raised by filling in vacant fields and appending data.
  3. Classify products as you process and improve records. Classification is critical to business processes that depend on accurate matches and comparisons of diverse-but-equivalent products.
  4. Extract product attributes from textual product descriptions. Parsing textual descriptions of products can locate missing product attributes.
  5. Increase the analytic effectiveness of product data. Properly processed product data will support analytics and reporting for material identification, spend analytics, complete views, supplier ranking and more.
  6. Don’t overlook requirements common to all data domains. Product data needs the basic data quality functions that other data domains require.
  7. Evaluate tools that satisfy product data’s special quality requirements. Product data has special attributes and uses that make some of its technology requirements unique.

TDWI asserts that many IT managers and their business counterparts are currently planning new or extended solutions for product data quality, driven by a lifecycle stage they’ve reached. “Vendor products have hit a lifecycle stage where functionality for product data is finally on par with that for customer data,” says Philip Russom, senior manager, TDWI Research, and author of the report.

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