Preparing for GDSN Maintenance Releases

How to Prepare for GDSN Maintenance Releases

The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) has been operating for over 13 years and provides support for a wide range of trading partners and industry channels.  In May 2016, Major Release 3 (MjR3) was deployed, which increased efficiency, brought about greater flexibility across various industry verticals / business sectors and provided better support to regulatory compliance.  However, one of the largest challenges most trading partners face when it comes to the GDSN is understanding what changes are coming and how best to prepare for them.

So, What’s Next?

There are currently two scheduled GDSN Maintenance Releases in 2017, one in the Spring (May 6th) and one in the Fall (November 4th).  GDSN Maintenance Releases can be comprised of updates ranging from additions / changes to attributes and code lists, validation rules, data migrations, schema changes, and more.

The May 2017 GDSN Maintenance Release will be compromised of the following:

  • Attribute updates
  • Introduction of new valid values
  • New Global Product Classification (GPC) codes
  • Validation rule changes

The November 2017 Maintenance Release is still being finalized.  While the standards are in the process of being locked down, the following details are known:

  • The release will be non-backwards compatible
  • There will be changes to attributes and possible data conversions required
  • The XML schema is changing.

The impact of these modifications will require all machine-to-machine solutions to be upgraded to support the new XML standard at a minimum.

Understand the Impact to your Organization

Each organization, or trading partner, will need to review the upcoming changes to determine if they will need to be implemented based on their individual business needs.

For example, here are some things a Supplier and Data Recipient should consider when a GDSN Release contains new attributes and codes or changes to existing attributes and codes.

For Suppliers:

When new attributes or codes are added:

  • Do these new attributes / codes apply to your products?
  • Are your trading partners beginning to request that this information be provided to them?
  • If you said yes to both, then examine the attributes and determine where this data is being stored within your organizations / backend systems.  Additionally, appropriate time will need to be allocated to gather data and begin providing it to your trading partners?

When existing attributes or codes change, or are removed:

  • Do these changes impact attributes or codes you are currently providing to your trading partners?
  • If yes, then you will need to determine what updates should be made to existing data to ensure your product data is compliant.

Alternatively, Data Recipients should consider the following:

When new attributes or codes are added:

  • Is there a business need for this information?
  • If yes, consider a communication plan to your suppliers.  Perform analysis on where the new information will need to be stored and who will need access to the information.

When existing attributes or codes change, or are removed:

  • Do these changes impact attributes or codes you are currently utilizing?
  • If yes, you will need to consider data migration as well as business process changes that may need to be updated.

Where Can I Find These Updates?

GS1 will post their documentation associated with GDSN Maintenance Releases on their website. In addition, your data pool / solution partner should also have documentation associated with the GDSN changes they will be applying.

Data pools, such as 1WorldSync, will post their documentation indicating the GDSN changes they will incorporate in their releases.  LANSA aligns with the changes implemented by 1WorldSync.

How Do I Get Involved in GDSN Planning?

For those interested in learning more, or to become a part of the process, you can join the GS1 Community Room.  The Community Room provides you with access to what is happening in terms of development and implementation of GS1 Standards, as well as enables you / your company to influence the development and implementation of GS1 Standards by participation in the various workgroups.

It’s Time to be Prepared

Trading partners that work with solution providers like LANSA benefit from our ability to:

  • Mitigate / minimize technical impacts such as schema changes
  • Reduce the complexity of exchanging the various documents with the data pools
  • Have strong business and technical resources that breakdown the requirements and develop solutions that streamline the overall implementation

LANSA offers deep technical expertise in working with the 1WorldSync Data Pool as we support all the transactions required for trading partners (suppliers, distributors and retailers) to communicate throughout the GDSN.  We eliminate any guess work associated with messaging, attribute support including meta data, updates to code lists and validation rules.

LANSA utilizes the methodology as shown below to implement new GDSN releases.

LANSA methodology

Additionally, LANSA offers various documents such as our Data Sync Direct Dictionary that provides cross mapping of attributes, code lists, and validations rules between our PIM and 1WS.  Our professional services team can assist with any business or technical changes that need to be made.

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