A tale of two (procurement) catalogues part 2: jCatalog

We discussed catalogue management yesterday and our recent meeting with ProcServe. Today, we move on to jCatalog, a German company that is probably the market leader in its space, at least in Europe.

Jason Busch and I met Kelly Babbit from the firm when Jason was over recently, and Jason has written already based on that discussion.  So I'll shamelessly steal some key bits of Jason's analysis rather than re-invent a very superior wheel!

jCatalog was founded in Germany and now has over 100 staff with offices in Dortmund, Munich, London and Oakland and a development centre in Minsk. They're one of the most successful of a range of vendors who thrive on the shortcomings in the major (ERP) providers' e Procurement offerings; in jCatalog's case, their emphasis is entirely on catalogue management and enablement, in both buy and sell-side contexts, and master data management for SKUs, products, pricing, etc. They're not very high profile, but are now looking to address North America more strongly (hence Babbit's appointment).

They to sell both directly and indirectly (indirect channels and customers include Conexa, Perfect Commerce, Click2Procure and Quadrem). It's not clear yet whether Quadrem will continue to be a long-term customer given that they were recently acquired by Ariba, but they are still an active user of the product at the moment.

jCatalog offer a highly scalable and flexible architecture which supports buying needs at both corporate and local level.  Here's Jason;

As an example of how one organization is using jCatalog in a unique manner, consider the case of one company in the oil and gas industry that has created a product master for all internally manufactured items (representing some 500,000 parts). In the same solution, they also process data for 2,500 external suppliers and provide a centrally managed product search capability for 30,000 internal eProcurement (SAP) users -- up to 1,500 of which may be on the system at any one time. This company has also connected their master product data to a range of systems, making all relevant catalog, part and supplier content available in real-time regardless of the application or browser a user is accessing it in.

Jason's previous analysis of the offering (here and here) suggest that the user interface is friendly and the solution doesn't need huge amounts of technical IT type input - users (procurement or suppliers) can manage and maintain the information.

I'm looking forward to a full demo but I agree with another point Jason makes, which points out that this whole area is a more important factor in terms of successful eProcurement implementation than is first obvious (as we pointed out when we discussed ProcServe) :

After all, the reason so many earlier SAP SRM implementations failed to achieve their original objectives is that companies did not account for the challenge of on-boarding and managing content for more than a handful of suppliers.

Yes, you're right Jason - I've been there through some dodgy implementations (when you were still a lad)!

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