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The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle allows retailers to easily and automatically import and update product information using GS1's Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).

What the Global Data Synchronization ES Bundle Does

Formerly, updated product information was exchanged using EDI. The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle uses XML messages. Using EDI, the data included many products the retailer didn't need. This ES bundle allows retailers to connect to many manufacturers easily and receive only the data they need in a single easy-to-use format. It eliminates the retail headache of manually tracking and updating information on hundreds or even thousands of products.

Subscriptions to Product Information

The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle allows a retailer to subscribe to a particular product or group of products from a manufacturer through a data pool or on a peer-to-peer basis, directly with a manufacturing company. Whenever the product size, availability, or other feature changes, the latest information is automatically sent to the retailer.

Global Data Synchronization (click to enlarge)

The System Landscape

The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle streamlines product data sharing using a sophisticated web-based architecture that allows retailers and manufacturers anywhere in the world to communicate. The retailer's SAP ERP system connects with a third-party recipient data pool, which is linked to GS1's global registry. The registry maintains GTINs (global trade identification numbers, formerly called EANs or UPC codes) for millions of products. In turn, the global registry provides links to third-party source data pools, which are linked to the manufacturer's backend system.

Subscribing to Product Updates

The retailer follows a four-step process to receive and update product master data from a manufacturer.

  • Step 1: Retailer selects products. In SAP ERP 6.0, the retailer calls up the ES bundle's subscription user interface. The interface allows the retailer to select specific products or groups of products to track and receive updates on. The source data pool is responsible for retrieving the specified data. Subscriptions can be established to a single product (GTIN), a manufacturer (global location number, or GLN), or a category of products (global product classification, GPC).
  • Step 2: Retailer receives confirmation of the subscription. The source data pool sends the retailer a confirmation of the subscription.
  • Step 3: The source data pool sends the requested information. Once the subscription is confirmed, the source data pool sends out the requested data which lists the products and their new specifications, including color, size, and so on, every time the product attributes change. This information is sent directly to the recipient data pool and then on to the retailer's SAP ERP 6.0 system. To ensure the correct product information has been sent out, the manufacturer had previously routed the product data through the global registry to confirm the GTINs.
  • Step 4: Retailer selectively updates product master data. The new product data is sent to a staging area, where the retailer can monitor incoming messages and verify the data prior to updating product information. Validation rules can be applied to the data using the rule engine in SAP ERP 6.0. Once the retailer has the new product data in hand, he can either automatically update the old product master data with the new specifications or manually update the data on a case-by-case basis. Rules can be established so that data from certain manufacturers or classifications are either always automatically accepted or always manually confirmed. In the latter case, the interface allows the retailer to view the new specifications line-by-line with the old product master data. The retailer can select or reject the updates as he sees fit for each product and then save the updated information in the SAP ERP system. The retailer can also enhance the product master data with any new specifications that he believes are important. The interface includes three lines of data: the current data in SAP ERP 6.0, the new data that has come in, and a work line where the desired updates can be made and used to update the SAP ERP system.

The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle connects with ERP's rule engine which provides the flexibility to make changes in the transformation or validation of the data when needed. The rule engine is a generic tool that allows you to check or enrich data.

Performing a One-Time Check for Updates

Instead of subscribing to updates on a particular product, the ES bundle also allows a retailer to do a one-time check for updates on a particular product. The retailer logs on to the user interface and sends out a request for information on the product using its GTIN. The request is transmitted through the data pools to the manufacturer. The source data pool delivers the information to the retailer, who can view it in the maintenance interface.

The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle leverages enterprise SOA by connecting a retailer's ERP data to that of his manufacturers and suppliers using XML messaging through GDSN.

Audience

The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle can be used by retail companies of any size and type. It is especially useful for retailers with ever-changing product assortments. The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle is typically operated out of a company's headquarters, purchasing departments, and so on. The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle is useful for any retailer seeking to streamline and automate its data management systems.

Typically, the job titles using this ES bundle include purchaser and product category manager.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.


How To Use This ES Bundle

Inefficient master data management is one of the top reasons for loss of profits among retailers. In order for retailers to access information about any of a vendor's products, they are often saddled with importing all of the data related to that vendor's products – making for a bulky, hard-to-manage data system.

At most companies today, data sharing involves either tremendous manual maintenance efforts, or high numbers of interfaces for data exchange that require EDI, XML, flat files, or other formats. Further slowing the processes, many IT environments are unable to handle industry standard requirements, and most interfaces are one-to-one, making for a large, complicated web of incompatible networks. One researcher estimates that such inefficient processes will cost retailers $2.1 billion by 2008.

The Global Data Synchronization ES bundle allows retailers to cherry-pick data on the specific products they wish to receive, confirm the accuracy and safety of importing the data, and purge information at will. Since the ES bundle gives the customer the option to receive data from an external source data pool as well as directly from manufacturers, retailers can access this information from anywhere in the world.

This section will explore two use cases for the Global Data Synchronization ES bundle. Each use case provides concrete examples and shows how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations. While these examples illustrate a few of the ways that this ES bundle could be used, the intention is to show the flexibility and reusability of these business objects and enterprise service operations so that you will have a clearer understanding of how to best deploy them in your own environment. This wiki is also a space for you to share knowledge and collaborate with others who are implementing the Global Data Synchronization ES bundle.

Use Case 1: Subscribing to Product Information Updates

World Wide Garden, a multinational landscape supply retailer, needs to streamline the maintenance of master data for its products. This use case explains how World Wide Garden can subscribe to product updates from suppliers and then use those updates to automatically or selectively enter new product master data in its ERP system.

Setting Up Global Data Synchronization

A World Wide Garden business architect needs to set up global data synchronization with its vendors. World Wide Garden needs to set up connections to each vendor's source data pool. World Wide Garden also needs to connect to the recipient data pool, which links directly to its ERP system and the global registry operated by GS1. (Here a simple diagram showing the components).

Selecting Products for Automatic Data Updates

Once initial setup is complete, World Wide Garden purchaser Larry can log onto the subscription user interface in SAP ERP 6.0. Larry can select a single type of product or a whole category of products he wants to receive updates on.

Defining Update Notifications

In the next step, Larry uses the enterprise service Request Trade Item Catalogue Subscription to select the types of product changes World Wide Garden would like to receive. For example, Larry wants to be informed any time there is a change to weight, availability, or the price of any of the products he selected.

Confirming Receipt of Subscription Information

The source data pool sends out the Trade Item Catalogue to World Wide Garden when there is an update corresponding to a product that meets the notification criteria. The data travels from the source data pool to the recipient data pool and finally to the World Wide Garden's ERP system. On receipt of the update, World Wide Garden sends back a message to the source data pool confirming its delivery using the enterprise service Confirm Trade Item Catalogue Transmission.

Selectively Updating Master Data

Updating: Larry logs onto the maintenance interface in SAP ERP to choose which product master data to update from a list of incoming items. At any time, he can update World Wide Garden product master data for items he selects.

Editing: Larry uses the maintenance interface to view attributes for individual products. The interface allows for a view of the new product data (weight, color, etc.) line-by-line with the attributes for the product stored in the old ERP master data. Larry can enter new values for each of the attributes. He might want to shorten a name, correct an erroneous attribute value sent from the manufacturer, or include new data not sent in the update. When he is finished, Larry can apply the changes to update the master data in ERP.

Canceling a Subscription

Larry can cancel a catalog subscription from any nonperforming vendor and set up a new subscription service with more reliable or less expensive suppliers. He logs onto the subscription user interface in SAP ERP and selects the subscription to cancel, which invokes the Request Trade Item Catalogue Subscription Cancellation enterprise service. This service sends out a message to the recipient data pool and on to the source data pool, which cancels his subscription. The source data pool sends a message back to Larry confirming the cancellation.

Use Case 2: One-time Product Update

In addition to receiving subscriptions to changes in product information, you can use the services in the Global Data Synchronization ES bundle to receive one-time product updates.

Requesting Data on One Product

World Wide Garden's purchaser uses the enterprise service Request for Trade Item Catalogue Transmission Request to retrieve information about one product, supplying the Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) and the manufacturer's Global Location Number (GLN) to get data on the product.

Receiving the Data

The Request for Trade Item Catalogue Transmission Request enterprise service sends a message through the recipient data pool to source pool. The source data pool sends a message back notifying Amanda it has received the request. The source data pool then sends the product data back through the data pools to World Wide Garden's system.

Confirming Receipt of the Data

In the maintenance interface in SAP ERP, World Wide Garden's purchaser uses the enterprise service Confirm Trade Item Catalogue Transmission to notify the retailer he has received the information.

Connectivity Kit

Connectivity Kit Available!

A Connectivity Kit is available to help administrators with the details of implementing this ES bundle. See the Connectivity Kits wiki for more information.

Best Practices

One best practice that has been highlighted is the use of the connectivity kit.

If you want to implement the integration scenario GDS, please refer to the connectivity kit for integration scenario GDS.

Future Directions

This ES bundle could be enhanced to offer connections to additional data pools. SAP partners or customers may use the services in this bundle to create these connections. If you are involved in such an effort, please contribute details of your plans back to the wiki.

Connectivity

Connectivity is achieved using SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (formerly SAP NetWeaver XI) which formats the data for SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC). For example, retailers can connect to the Agentrics data pool using the AS2 protocol (this ES bundle will be certified for use with the Agentrics data pool in Q2 2007). Retailers will be able to connect to their recipient data pool using theAS2 protocol).

System Requirements

Related ES Bundles