The most frequently asked questions (with corresponding answers) about Product Data Lake (PDL)
Questions 1 – 6 are general questions
Questions 7-9 address those with a need to provide business partners (typically manufacturers and retailers) with data
Questions 10-12 address those with a need to receive data from business partners (typically retailers and web shops)
1) How does PDL work?
PDL is a cloud-based solution that anyone using a web browser can access. As soon as you have received your login permit, you can go online with all your customers, provided they have a login permit and both parties have accepted the partnership. Essentially, it functions in the same way as a social network.
You can set up the daily exchange of product information automatically using FTP file exchange or as an application program interface (API). You are free to choose the exchange form that suits you the best, just like your business partners are free to do the same.
2) How much does it cost to use PDL?
PDL is a 100% scalable system. You only pay for the amount of data that you send and receive. The typical annual cost per product is 1 – 3 DKr, depending on the number of products, files, business partners and users.
3) Is PDL the same as a PIM (Product Information Management) system?
No, PDL is a system that automatically exchanges product data between business partners. A PIM system, on the other hand, is an in-house system that keeps track of a company’s own product data. A PIM system is rarely connected to business partners’ systems.
4) Everyone talks about cloud-based solutions. Why are they so smart?
Most businesses are faced with the same challenges with respect to administration, sales, financial management etc. Instead of each company having its own system, which is a considerable expense, it is both cost-effective and flexible to use a mutually accessible system that is already developed and works optimally. You only pay for your own data usage, and there is no upper limit to the amount of data and the number of users that can be included in the system
5) Is my data safe if it is stored in a cloud?
Everything can be hacked (including cloud systems and private systems), and one type of system is every bit as safe as another. However, the risk of a cloud-based system being hacked is smaller, simply because the safety is prioritized due to the many users. The safety of a cloud-based service is bound to be higher than the safety of most in-house systems.
6) What is the difference between a “cloud” and a “lake”?
A cloud and a lake are two different things, yet they are similar in relation to IT. Data and systems are stored outside of the company and are accessed via the net. A “cloud” often means that you have access to a program, while a “lake” typically involves storing large amounts of data. PDL is a cloud-based solution that gives you access to vast quantities of product data stored in a “lake”.
Supplying product information
7) Why is it smarter to use Product Data Lake (PDL) than to send a document or a file with product information to my customers?
Once you have stored your product information in PDL, all you customers can hook up and receive your data any way they like. Some prefer to register the data on their own, while others prefer to have the data “pushed” automatically into their system. No matter what systems your customers use and how they prefer to receive the data, PDL adjusts automatically to each customer’s individual preferences. Both you and your customers save a lot of time and labor on using PDL, and because the data is not handled manually, the risk of errors is minimal.
8) I am thinking of building my own PIM (Product Information Management) system, so my customers can download product data from my customer portal. That it is the same as PDL, right?
No, a PIM system is an in-house system and rarely communicates with your business partners’ systems. For you, the work involved in storing your product data in either PDL or a PIM system is the same. However, it involves a lot of work for your customers to have to download and convert data from your PIM system via your customer portal and feed it into their own systems. If you use PDL, your data is automatically pushed into your customers’ system without the need for human interference. Besides being significantly more convenient, PDL is much more cost-effective. It can easily cost more than a million DKr to install a PIM system, and it also sequesters a substantial amount of internal resources. A PDL solution, on the other hand, enables you to hook up directly, and you only pay according to the amount of data used, which is typically around 1 – 3 DKr per product per year.
9) I already have a PIM (Product Information Management) system that works just fine, and which my employees feel confident about. I guess a PDL solution would not be necessary right now?
If you have a well-functioning PIM system that works well and everyone feels safe about using, that is good news. However, it does not connect you with your customers. Your customers are still forced to spend a lot of time, money and resources on downloading data from a variety of different portals, converting the data, and storing it in their own systems. Did you know that a PDL system can be superimposed onto your existing PIM system? That way, your employees can continue using their PIM system, but PDL will automatically collect the data from your PIM system and push it to your customers in the quantity and format that your customers have defined in PDL.
Being connected with your customers and exchanging product data strengthens your ties and your business relation.
Receiving product information
10) We have a supplier portal to which our business partners can upload their product data. This works just fine for us, so why bother with using PDL?
If you hold a superior position in your relation with your suppliers it makes perfect sense that each supplier uploads his own data. However, consider the workload involved with all of your suppliers having to upload data to each of their business partners. What is more, think of the risk of errors and the risk of your suppliers not uploading their data on time because of the enormous workload. Wouldn’t it be convenient if PDL transferred data from your suppliers to your portal automatically?
Who knows, you may eventually encounter a supplier that is large enough to become the new “big brother” with the superior role, one who suddenly calls the shots and decides how he wants to deliver his data to each of you. In that case, a PDL solution would make it much easier for the supplier as well as for the retailer.
11) We currently receive our data in a multitude of different ways. It is quite demanding for us to handle the data. How can we solve that problem?
All you need to do is to hook up to PDL. Inform your suppliers that, in the future, you would like for them to deliver their data to you via PDL. It makes no difference to them. The work is the same. You will automatically receive uniform and updated data directly in your system. You save time and money and avoid potentially costly mistakes. Also, your suppliers will realize that they only need to upload their data to one place, from where the data is automatically distributed to all their customers. Your customers will gain the same advantages as you. We can easily help you connect to your suppliers.
12) Many of our suppliers have their own portals that we have to access in order to collect data. Is there a smarter way of doing this?
Yes, hook up to PDL and ask your suppliers to connect their portals, as well. That way, product data is automatically transferred from your suppliers to you. It is a top priority for your suppliers that you always have updated product information. Therefore, they are bound to listen to your requests.