Procurement 101: What is Catalog Content Management?

Most people tend to think of procurement as a highly advanced, technically baffling aspect of business. While it can be a complex space to understand, it doesn’t have to be. With a basic understanding of a few common concepts, procurement can be understood by almost anyone – even you! In today’s post, we’re going to cover one of those aspects: catalog content management.

At its core, catalog content management (also known as catalog management) represents a solution for organizations to consolidate data into a single source of truth for all customers, suppliers, processes, and policies. In fact, catalog content management is, itself, the very core of eProcurement.

“Content management is the foundation upon which every eProcurement initiative must be built,” writes the Aberdeen Group. “If this foundation is unstable or incomplete, the rest of the project will crumble.”

Quite true! Although catalog content management is the basis for which eCommerce systems are developed, the solution hardly appeared out of thin air. Prior to the development of catalog management solutions, a master data management (MDM) tool served to define and manage an organization’s data into a single point of reference.

MDM tools helped to consolidate data by maintaining standards and removing duplicates.  A precursor to modern catalog management technology, MDM helped to pave the way for how solutions processed a master source of cohesive data.  Catalog management propels this solution with advancements in data formulation, accessibility, and customizing characteristics for data sharing and repurposing, such as the ability to open shop on the web. 

Catalog content management, like its MDM predecessor, allows organizations to define and manage and organization’s data into a single digital point of reference that can be accessed from any device, from desktop to mobile.

PunchOut catalog management allows vendors to present their catalogs on a supplier’s eProcurement site.  This approach allows vendors a means to display a large number of items with customization options and the ability to perform live updates of the catalog.  With a Level 2 PunchOut system, catalogs can be viewed and compared in a single marketplace comprised of multiple vendors.

Enterprises looking to leverage an internal marketplace to store their suppliers’ information can do so using a catalog management Software as a Service (SaaS) application.  This application offers enterprises a way to always stay abreast of the latest vendor catalog content and the ability to compare pricing, specifications, and availability across different vendors—all from a the same, familiar user interface.

That consistent user interface is as important to the modern business world on desktop computers as it is on mobile devices.  With mobile procurement, catalog content management platforms can be accessed in full from a variety of different portals—anywhere, at any time.

Beyond that, the concept of catalog management is largely underestimated.  To learn more about how beneficial catalog content management can be for eCommerce, eProcurement, and an organization’s digital marketplace, please download our free whitepaper, 5 Catalog Management Myths Busted: A Business Whitepaper for The Modern Organization.