If you're involved in eProcurement implementations or interested in the art of managing catalog data, check out Debbie Wilson's new report that analyzes trends in eProcurement catalog formats. I'll give Dave Stephens the unofficial hat tip for pointing out the piece, though I think that we both came across it at the same time. In it, Debbie does a great job breathing life into a subject that non eProcurement junkies would find about as interesting as non-country fans talking about the Dixie Chicks (my sister, who I saw earlier today, would not stop blabbing about her favorite group, which gives me some empathy for those who are outside of the Spend Management world when I go off on a subject).
So what are Debbie's summary findings? She argues that it's important not to "overlook the usefulness of catalog standards in situations which call for it, such as product information management, shopping site creation, and punch-out. Who wants to rebuild the Grainger catalog? But on the other hand, if someone tells you that in order to successfully implement eProcurement you must normalize your data, offer requisitioners millions of items to choose from, and insist on certain formats from your catalog suppliers, don’t believe a word of it." But read the rest for yourself if you're curious about the subject. It will be time well spent. As I said last month, I credit Debbie with becoming the first Spend Management "blogger", and I consider her material -- though published a bit infrequently -- a must-read when it does come out.