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Catalog operations

IPS Transaction Automation Overview

IBM Procurement Services (IPS) is committed to lowering costs of procurement by creating and utilizing highly automated supply-chain solutions worldwide which are made possible by our Transaction Automation Initiative (TAI). Catalog suppliers are expected to manage the content of their catalog via IBM’s strategic solutions while ensuring both the highest level of content and data quality along with extensive item descriptions. PunchOut / ShopOut catalogs are only supported with very limited exceptions which meet strict guidelines. All content is loaded to, managed within and presented to users via IBM’s Global Catalog Facility (GCF).

Global Catalog Facility (GCF)

The Global Catalog Facility (GCF) is a cloud marketplace that is agnostically accessible by any and all P2P systems. GCF can be compared to large multi-supplier PunchOut / ShopOut site that is configured to be accessible via the targeted requisitioning tool similar to any PunchOut site.

Through GCF, IBM has established a strategic environment of co-operation with our supply base by having them manage and send their offerings directly to GCF while working together to optimize both content and data quality while implementing a myriad of advanced catalog features. By hosting and optimizing all sourced content within the GCF marketplace, IBM can optimize the content and provide that world-class e-commerce user experience that is now demanded of corporate procurement teams which has historically only been possible via e-commerce solutions on the sell-side.

GCF consists of more than 50 advanced catalog features and a myriad of automation solutions while hosting content from thousands of suppliers across tens of thousands of catalogs and other advanced automation solutions that support all industries and commodity categories managed by both IBM Global Procurement and the IBM Procurement Services [BPO] Sourcing Teams.

The Global Catalog Facility provides simplified content management via automated and cost effective processes and solutions for both current and future suppliers while allowing them to utilize their existing product catalog delivery systems for transmitting their offerings to IBM.

Transaction Automation Initiative (TAI)

The Transaction Automation Initiative (TAI) is a program designed to optimize the order processing governance for both IBM and our Clients through the optimal catalogs as well as innovative advanced automation solutions. The targeted optimization and automation results in corresponding compliance improvements which deliver targeted and associated savings.

While the automation solutions within GCF are a key component of TAI, the program delivers much more than automated purchase orders. TAI consists of five primary competencies for which our suppliers are essential partners. These include:

  • Data and Content Quality Analytics – providing the solid foundation for all other competencies
  • Behavioral Influencing Analytics – delivering additional savings by assisting users in making strategic and compliant decisions.
  • Advanced Transaction Automation Solutions – targeting automation for commodities that are typically overlooked for automation.
  • Commodity Analytics – providing Sourcing Specialists with rapid fire analytics in support of negotiations related to the items and trends of the targeted user base.
  • Cognitive Solutions – incorporating IBM cognitive solutions powered by Watson.

Delivery of these competencies is highly dependent upon a strict content and data quality governance program and a commitment to world-class data quality by all stakeholders including IBM Catalog Operations, IBM / IPS Sourcing and all TAI suppliers. While the Sourcing Teams are responsible for defining the content of their catalogs along with their suppliers, IBM’s Catalog Operations Team governs the Global Catalog Facility and is responsible for both catalog content and data quality while ensuring all stakeholders are properly trained to comply with IBM’s data requirements, understand how to optimize their content within GCF and track each supplier’s compliance with all data quality expectations.

Catalog Content Quality Agreement

All suppliers participating in an IBM RFI or RFP are now required to review, comprehend, and accept the IBM Catalog Content Quality Agreement (CCQA) as an addendum to the RFx requirements / statement of work. The CCQA defines the supplier's commitment to comply with IBM’s catalog management guidelines, data expectations, and data quality requirements which are each outlined within the GCF Self-Service Module (SSM). If your organization is already providing catalogs to IBM, you should be able to access the linked Supplier Guide. If you are not yet an IBM approved supplier and you have been invited to participate in an IBM RFx, the Procurement Specialist sponsoring the RFx should have provided you with a copy of both the CCQA and the Supplier Guide. If not, please contact the RFx sponsor.

Contact Us

If you are already an IBM approved catalog supplier and you have completed the required GCF training, you can login to the GCF Self-Service Module (SSM). Upon login, you will be presented with a personalized welcome page that is loaded with targeted details intended specifically for your organization. These personalized details include: tailored information and expectations of your team, open action items, pending quality improvements, contact information for your personally assigned IBM Automation Analysts (and their back-up). You will also find useful training materials, catalog templates and many context-specific videos to help you build exceptional quality content, improve usability and take advantage of the power of GCF and its advanced features. Our catalog SMEs and consultants have also published lessons learned, hints, tips and secrets to meeting IBM’s data quality expectations.

NOTE: Contact the if...

  • If you do not remember your login credentials.
  • If IBM asked you to provide content to GCF but either a) you are not yet an approved supplier or, b) you have not yet completed the required GCF training

Have Access?

IBM approved suppliers who have completed GCF training and provided with login credentials...

Request Access

IBM approved catalog suppliers who do not yet have access to GCF must first complete mandatory training prior to being granted access to GCF. Contact us to schedule your one-hour training session...

IBM Catalog Operations team

You may also contact the IBM Catalog Operations Team for assistance with either accessing the Guide or with questions related to the Guide. However, the Catalog Operations Team is not authorized to distribute the Guide to anyone who is not associated with an IBM approved supplier.