This week's Knowledge Nuggets topic is eCatalog management. This is again another multi-segment post with this, the third post, being about the different types of eCatalogs. Links to the rest of the segments of this post can be found at the bottom of this page. Enjoy!
Types of eCatalogs
There are three primary choices of eCatalogs in use and each has their own pros and cons which are described below as well as highlighted in Table 1.
CIF (Catalog Interchange Format) – This is a catalog hosted and maintained by the customer or catalog vendor. The primary benefit is control, preferred product guidance, and pricing. The downside is it is more resource-intensive and may not be as current as other methods.
PunchOut – Users punch out from their procurement solution to a supplier-hosted catalog home page, where they search, compare, and select. The user then has to return to the procurement vendor in order to complete the requisition.
Level 2 PunchOut – This has some of the best of both worlds. Level 2 PunchOut will bring the user directly to the “aisle”, “shelf” or product (depending on configuration) of a supplier-hosted catalog that surfaced in their catalog search. An aisle>shelf>product example is Printer Ink>Epson Printer Ink> Epson Ink #12345. This provides maximum control to the enterprise while offloading the burden of maintenance to the supplier with the added benefit of being more up-to-date. The downside is that it is more time-consuming to establish and because it requires more effort on the part of the supplier, not all are open to this method.
There is also an older technology, web scraping, that has bots or spiders go out an “scrape” the suppliers’ website for content. This technology was initially embraced by consumer price tracking websites such as NexTag, but has since been abandoned due to lack of accuracy. One major issue around this type of catalog has been the lack of proactive pricing compliance, particularly as it pertains to volume or tiered pricing. Plus, there is no capability for data enrichment or cleansing as well as no support for services procurement. The ultimate negative may be that it is a buyer-intensive
solution—the burden rests with buying organizations to manage and maintain: commodity code classification, monitoring fields for filtering, managing bots, etc.
One additional type of catalog that is becoming more widely used, CDF (Catalog Data Format), is specifically for Services Procurement. This may combine rate cards and other specific parameters that are required to procure services such as contingent labor, consulting, marketing services, facilities, and print.
This has been part 3 of eCatalog Management. To see the other segments pleae follow the links below.
This has been another Knowledge Nugget post brought to you by Beverly Dunn.
For more information or details please feel free to contact me!