GDSN Major Release 3: What Data Professionals Need to Know (Part 1)

blog_image_1_copyThe GS1 Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is an Internet-based, intersected network of interoperable data pools and global registry. This global registry enables organizations to automatically share their data with each other so that a supplier or retailer updates their database, that update is reflected across the trading partners database as a result. Data that is traded between partners by the GDSN is assured that it is accurate and compliant with universally supported standards.

So why is this important to you? In May of 2016 the GDSN is releasing the next update to their system, the Major Release 3 or MjR3. This system is largely driving the behavior and focus of organizations regarding their Global Distribution System (GDS) efforts.  This new release is designed to bring flexibility to increase efficiency and support regulatory requirements and allow companies to quickly react and adjust as their business expands.
The new features will make it easier for all industries to adopt GDSN and flex it to suit their industry and improve product data management. It works by reducing the size of the ‘core’ item attributes to those applicable to any trade item, regardless of vertical. Other sector specific attributes can be added to the core at anytime, creating additional flexibility in the network to suit the industry.

With these new features, companies in any supported vertical gain 4 main benefits:

  • Get up and running faster with a smaller core data set, making it easier to implement
  • Add new attributes rapidly to adapt to regulatory changes or industry developments where new types of data need to be exchanged
  • Add new product categories as the business grows or the vertical evolves
  • Support new business applications like hazardous materials or sustainability

Given this change, the focus of most companies is NOT tackling the synchronization of new attributes, but rather preparing for scale and ensuring ‘readiness’ for the Major Release.

While they are waiting for new attributes and formats to be ratified, they are focusing on building out the people, process and technology components required for scale.  From a Data Governance perspective, this means focusing on ‘where’ the information currently resides, ‘should’ and ‘are’ we standardizing it, ‘should’ we synchronize it – and ‘when’, and ‘should’ we govern it.

This is largely driven by the fact that there will essentially be a 6-month “dead period” beginning in October / November, when the Pre-Production 1WorldSync environment will be delivered, and May 2016, when the environment will be Production ready.  Any changes within that period will be problematic, as the environments will obviously be out of sync.

The Major Release 3 is going to be a game changer for your data and how it is shared between users. Now that you know the basics behind this important major release, read “GDSN Major Release 3: Prepare for Irganizational Process & Technical Impacts (Part 2)” for a more in depth analysis on how to get ready for Major Release 3.
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