Master Data Management (MDM) solution saves costs and optimises product lifecycle processes at Siemens Building Technologies

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Siemens Building Technologies’ intelligently integrated solutions turn buildings into high performance buildings when it comes to energy efficiency, safety and security.

This facilitates Total Building Solutions, the linking of all disciplines of building technology, with three main business units: Building Automation, Control Products and Systems Fire Safety and Security. 

With these Business Units, Siemens Building Technologies combines offerings for building security, life safety, building automation within one company as a service and system provider, and as a manufacturer of respective products. By virtue of the unique combination of these business sectors, the company occupies a leading position worldwide. The Building Technologies Division is part of Siemens Switzerland Ltd, Zurich (Switzerland).

At the beginning of 2004, Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) decided on a total renewal of its product data management processes and launched the ‘db.com’ project with the aim of transferring the details of some 25,000 locally administered products and a further 30,000 assets, such as product data sheets and graphics, into a central system.

SBT had originally emerged from a number of different companies following several acquisitions, the result of which was that different departments were sometimes maintaining the same product data in parallel in around a dozen different local applications. This siloed management prevented efficient reuse of the data and, with the same products presented differently in the marketplace, it was impossible for SBT to achieve a unified brand image.

The decision to adopt a new central master data management function came from the company motto - ‘One SBT’ - which referred to presenting a consistency in external communication and common sales activities.

The launch of the ‘db.com’ project saw the company set out to live up to this ‘One SBT’ motto and take a big step towards commonality. Its aim was a uniform presentation of the company and its products across all channels and regions while, at the same time, saving time and expense in data maintenance.

To support this goal, SBT chose to implement Stibo Systems’ ‘STEP’ master data management platform, a single source of strategic information that seamlessly shares data with back-end applications in the supply chain, as well as customer-facing applications across the enterprise. By doing so, all product details and relevant company data can be managed centrally in one place, whether the information is used for call centres, sales channels, websites, print media or other points of sale – regardless of format, language, currency or physical location.

As a result, SBT’s head office now enters the data for all global products into STEP in English and German, while other regions can access the data globally, with the ability to add further product data for their own regional use.

By applying the single-source principle, the maintenance costs within SBT were substantially reduced, and 98 per cent of data errors were eliminated.

Patrick Brunner, Roll-out Manager and CIO at SBT, explains the benefits of STEP “There are now 25 people working on data and layout maintenance, compared to many times that number before.” In addition to SBT’s head office in Zug, Switzerland, STEP is used in Siemens’ operational locations in nine European countries as well as in North America and Hong Kong.

“With centralised master data management, we are now able to implement completely new sales models and marketing ideas,” Brunner concludes.

Amendments to the data are visible worldwide in real-time in STEP, which significantly shortens the product lifecycle processes. Products can be brought to market around 80 per cent faster, are easy to update while in use and can be quickly swapped out for new products.

The customer experiences a uniform and strong brand image and there are also internal benefits from the switchover. All SBT staff can use the documents and brochures, images, press articles and presentations held in the STEP system through a special intranet web client which helps with brand management throughout the company. This is underpinned by consistent use of the data, particularly by staff in sales and marketing.