Oracle Offers PIM Capabilities to Retailers

Oracle's Product Information Management for Retail software gives enterprises and their supply chain partners a single view of the data.

Oracle is expanding its Oracle Retail product suite by adding an application that will enable businesses to more easily manage product information for themselves and their supply chains.

The software giant is positioning the Product Information Management for Retail software as a master data management application designed to allow global retailers to create a single enterprise view of all product information for themselves and their supply chain partners. The offering is intended to integrate, standardize and synchronize product data from multiple systems into a single central data repository to deliver product information.

According to Oracle Retail Senior Director Gladys Lau, Oracle decided to develop a retail-specific version of the PIM solution from its e-business application suite in response to an industry need to consolidate information among trading partners. Oracle introduced the product Jan. 14 at the annual NRF (National Retail Federation) show in New York.

"A consolidated, single version of the truth gets product to the shelf faster," Lau said. "Helping our [retail] customers get their products to market faster is a critical piece. It's about speed as well as having the right level of information."

She said the offering allows retailers to manage data at the SKU, size and color levels.

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George Lawrie, an analyst with Forrester Research, said retailers' need for synchronized, standardized item data to share with their supply chain partners drives the market for retail PIM technology.

"It's pretty interesting that IT vendors are spending quite a lot of effort in helping firms to clean up their customer data," Lawrie said. "But in retail, item data is vital to drive supply chain efficiencies. Retailers and [their] supply chain partners need to standardize the weight and cube of an item on a shelf, but also in a case and on a pallet, to undertake effective space management [and] also to optimize truck loads and warehouse utilization."

In addition, he said retailers can use PIM technology to improve efforts to optimize price and merchandise.

"Other attributes drive the substitute/complement logic in merchandise and price optimization," Lawrie said. "Most retailers synchronize data from manufacturers but then enrich it themselves. They need a PIM system to do this in a controlled way."

Oracle Product Information for Retail is built on an open-standards-based integration architecture and has flexible configuration capabilities. The solution is certified out of the box for GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) and 1Sync data pool.