Deciding on a Catalog Strategy

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define the catalog strategy
  • Describe static catalog types

Creating a Catalog

Before you start creating a catalog, you must have answers to the following questions.

What are you trying to accomplish with your catalogs?

  • Think about what you want to do with catalogs. Come up with goals.
  • This will shape the strategy, and make it easier to stay on target.

Who is the target audience?

For an engineer or technical user, part numbers may be the most important information – for an office worker, a description an image might be the most relevant.

Once you know the objectives and target audience, you can create your own catalog.

Here are some of the strategies that you must follow while creating a catalog.

Know what is "Catalogable"?

Anything can be cataloged, including services or a single SKU, if it makes it easier for your users and supports your catalog strategy.

Think creatively about what you might have in a catalog. Work with your suppliers to help.

Catalog everything you can!

Train your users!

Give your users every chance to be successful. While catalogs are inherently intuitive there are so many features that can make your users more productive.

Train them on everything that is available including searching/saved searches, favorites and more.

Make it Simple and Keep it Current!

Use images, rich descriptions, links; use your company's language and terminology.

Catalogs are meant to be easy to use, quick and hassle-free for your users.

If your content is outdated, your users may never come back, and they will complain to everyone.

Use the Tools!

CIF catalogs can do partial items, requiring user input.

You can create kits from multiple items, and from multiple suppliers.

Create custom views for your users. Depending on your software, catalogs can support volume discounts/tiered pricing.

Highlight certain items in your catalog with icons for recycled, MWBE, preferred suppliers, and more.

Use PunchOut catalogs to search and select items directly from your suppliers website.

Different Types of Catalog

Catalogs are broadly classified into two main types.

Static Catalogs

Static catalog items come from all supplier content files that have been loaded in the SAP Ariba Procurement solution. The catalog types include each item’s description, part number and contracted pricing. Static catalog items are directly searchable from the SAP Ariba Catalog. Items are added directly to the cart without the need for any extra steps. Static items can be added to favorites and added to the cart in multiples.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Static Catalogs

Example of a Static Catalog item displayed in the catalog interface

Clicking on the Short Name takes you to the details screen for this item.

Example of a detailed view of a Static Catalog item in the catalog interface

Additional product information is provided in the specifications

Example of the SAP Ariba Catalog

Variety of items in the SAP Ariba Catalog are displayed.

Catalogs are created in two main formats: CIF (Catalog Interchange Format) or cXML (commerce eXtensible Markup Language) format. Both formats are types of Static Catalogs. Let's learn more about them.

Describing Catalog Interchange Formats (CIF)

Catalog Interchange Format (CIF) is a general-purpose catalog description format.

  1. Static files are maintained and uploaded by suppliers to the SAP Business Network or created and managed by the buying organization.
  2. The file contains complete information for each SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) - part number, price, description, image link, commodity code, etc.
  3. Static catalogs allows for configurable:
    • Custom Fields
    • Partial Item
    • Kits
    • Item Rankings and Promoted Items

Examples of CIF and cXML Files

Example of a CIF File

Example of a CXML File

Explaining Catalog User Groups

For users to have catalog-related permissions, they must be added to catalog-related user groups.

Some of the suggested best practices in terms of roles and responsibilities for customer catalog managers and catalog approvers are mentioned below:

Customer Catalog Manager

  • Catalog administration
  • Validate catalog content
  • Maintain catalog subscriptions
  • Maintaining catalog hierarchy
  • Manage catalog kits

Catalog Approver

  • Receive catalog approval requests
  • Query catalog approvable documents

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