For many major companies, the ability to synchronise and centralise all their product information in a single database is an ideal they can aspire to – but are never likely to reach.
Yet ABB, the embattled engineering group, claims it managed this feat for 30,000 products in just one month using product information management (PIM) software from Cedron,
a Dutch PIM specialist. By the end of 2003, ABB hopes its database will have ballooned to 500,000 items.
Cedron CEO and founder Rene Jepma says the company’s technology succeeds where content and catalogue management software has failed because it can deliver structured product information in a unified format for both print and online business purposes.
The company’s core software platform, the ‘Product Data Centre’ (PDC), is powered by the technology of US database giant Oracle, where Jepma worked as a sales director. The PDC enables businesses to create unified data models for information on products, suppliers and merchants, as well as web user behaviour.
Cedron’s other products, such as its ‘Synchronisation’ module and ‘Import/Export’ suite, run on top of PDC. Synchronisation provides a two-way flow of data between a company’s enterprise applications and the PDC, while Import/Export enables product information to be loaded from a variety of file formats, including XML. To further flesh out its platform, Cedron spent part of its EU22 million funding on content management vendor Content Europe in May 2002, rescuing its target from bankruptcy proceedings.
Some industry analysts have tipped Cedron to grab a significant share of the PIM market, which will be worth EU278 million by the end of 2003, according to Giga Information Group.
But the company, which had 37 customers in October 2002, is going up against some highly regarded catalogue management vendors, such as Requisite Technology and Poet Software. Jepma claims there are no other pure-play PIM vendors that can match the breadth of his company’s software. But to continue growing, Cedron might have to strike new partnerships with complementary vendors, such as ecommerce focused content management vendors BroadVision and Interwoven.