Planning for the Product Catalog System

You use the Product Catalog System to create catalogs of products and to add and update product data. This system provides both import and export functionality, and allows you to define and modify the schema for catalogs.

The following table lists some of the questions that you need to answer in planning for the Product Catalog System.

Planning question Recommendation
Do you plan to synchronize information in the Product Catalog System with an offline catalog? If you synchronize information in the Product Catalog System with your offline catalog, you must develop custom software. If you require this functionality, consult with your system administrator.
What is the best organizational schema for your catalog? The Product Catalog System is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of schemas. If you are designing a new catalog, make sure to include plenty of opportunities for expanding the schema.
Do you use complex pricing models or other requirements beyond the functionality of the Product Catalog System? If so, consider using a third-party catalog management solution. A number of catalog solution vendors offer products that support Commerce Server and provide additional functionality. You can also extend the Product Catalog System by building your own pipeline components to accommodate complex pricing requirements.
Will you provide custom catalogs to different user groups? Create a base catalog that you can then modify based on user properties. Planning for these custom catalogs should be done in conjunction with planning for the Profiling System.
What catalog data will you export to the Data Warehouse? You should export the information required to create the reports you identified when you planned for using the Business Analytics System.
Will you exchange catalogs with your trading partners? If you will, then include Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000 in your deployment plan. It provides the functionality required to exchange catalogs.

See Also

About Catalogs

Business Desk Catalogs

Using BizTalk Server and Commerce Server

Integrating a Third-Party Product Catalog

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