Previous to the official launch of the new version of Zyme’s solution, I had the opportunity to chat and be briefed by Ashish Shete, VP of Products and Engineering at Zyme, in regard to version 3.0 of what Zyme describes as its channel data management (CDM) solution platform.
This conversation was noteworthy from both the software product and industry perspectives. In particular, the solution is relevant to an industry that needs software and technology solutions to help control, streamline, and improve the management of a fascinating and complex ecosystem called the distribution channel.
Zyme aims to increase the efficiency of this ecosystem through its CDM platform.
The distribution channel: a hidden monster
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):
Driven by favorable policies, technological innovation and business models bringing down the costs of cross-border transactions, international trade in goods and services added about 20 trillion US$ during the last 25 years, going from about 4 trillion US$ in 1990 to about 24 trillion US$ in 2014.
Global business is now “business as usual,” as it is the norm for a global economy. As manufacturers and service providers put goods on the market that are worth trillions of dollars, a huge infrastructure of distributors, resellers, retailers, and value-added resellers (VARs)—what we call the channel—is responsible for selling and moving them the globe.
As more goods and services reach new markets and new trade and commercialization models are created, the channel becomes an increasingly complex ecosystem that moves an immense flow of goods from many different places (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1. A simple version of the channel
As a result, manufacturers and service providers are experiencing challenges in handling the increasing volume and diversity of data coming from the channel and still be able to maintain visibility into the channel as well as garner insight on when and how their products and services are being sold and moved within the channel.
Simply managing this data is typically a complex and cumbersome task. This is because the data collected from the channel originates from different sources, and comes in different formats (text files, spreadsheets, via Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) connectors to third-party systems, etc.) and diverse structures (plain text, XML files, etc.). The challenge then is to find the most efficient way to collect, clean, organize, and consolidate this variety of data in order to gain visibility and insight from all these data points.
Companies like Zyme offer CDM software solutions as a concrete means to address this challenge. But what is a CDM solution? Well, in the words of Zyme, CDM is:
a discipline concerned with the acquisition and use of data originating from the channel. It enables companies to significantly grow their business by offering transformative insights into the way business is conducted in the channel.
In other words, a CDM solution offers a series of tools that enable customers or users to efficiently manage the data coming from the channel. This includes the following:
- Integration with third-party systems
- Automated data collection
- Data enrichment functionality
- Advanced analytics and reporting capabilities
Zyme aims to achieve complete channel visibility through its cloud CDM platform, which collects the raw data originating from partners, and pushes it to the proprietary technologies and content libraries, which then transform it into usable data for intelligence gathering. Once the data is ready, it can be processed and consumed for analysis and visualization through dashboards and/or other specific third-party analytics systems.
The channel data management market has enormous potential for growth and evolution. And a company such as Zyme, with its combination of expertise and innovative technology, keeps constantly developing this segment of the data management market.
Proof of this is the consistent growth of Zyme―which accounts for more than 70% of market share. The company expects to process more than $175 billion in channel revenues and more than 1 billion transactions this year thanks to its set of big customers, which includes Microsoft, VMWare, and GE, just to name a few of the players.
Figure 2. Zyme Screencap
Zyme adds power with version 3.0
On June 30th, Zyme announced the release of version 3.0 of its CDM solution. This news keeps with its mission to expand the platform and provide channel visibility to global enterprises. Zyme’s new version has been enriched with several improvements, three of which are core to the new direction of the company:
- The addition of zymeEcommerceSM to the platform. This new e-commerce offering will give companies more visibility into online shelf space. This new solution can keep track of metrics such as competitors’ product positioning, pricing, and customer perception across e-commerce channels—and consequently delivers market intelligence.
- The addition of the new zymeIncentives solution. This solution allows companies to perform incentives management, and thus automatically calculate and validate rebates and credits earned by partners based on Zyme’s existing decision-grade data. The solution is also able to communicate as well as facilitate incentives payments to channel partners quickly and seamlessly.
- Zyme’s approach to the Internet of Things (IoT) called zymeCDMSM. This enhances Zyme’s existing functionality with capabilities for tracking connected devices down to individual serial numbers in real time. This in turn improves visibility into product movement, such as mapping out a product’s complete route to a customer for a manufacturer, with the ultimate goal of closing the loop between manufacturers and end users.
In regard to its new version, Chandran Sankaran, Zyme’s CEO mentioned:
The Zyme cloud platform 3.0 makes our proprietary technologies and comprehensive content libraries, including more than 1.5 million channel partners and the largest directory of products and retailers, available to customers through a modern, scalable, SaaS platform. Global enterprises have immediate access to complete, accurate and timely data from resellers and distributors to unlock the enormous value that had previously been trapped in the channel due to inefficient and outdated reporting systems and processes.
On the other hand, on the customer side, Kevin Nusky, Director of Marketing and Sales Operations at Schneider Electric’s IT Business Unit had the following to say about Zyme’s new release:
More than 65 percent of our sales go through a distribution system, so we can't make informed business decisions without accurate data from channel partners. Zyme delivers unprecedented partner reporting accuracy, which has led to improved inventory management, reduced rebate overpayments, increased revenue through better partner development and accelerated channel growth and success.
Building on its core mission to deliver channel visibility to global enterprises, the company offers a targeted solution that provides complete channel visibility. Zyme’s cloud platform 3.0 aims to empower companies to obtain the maximum value from the channel sales.
Zyme in a blue sea
It appears that Zyme has encountered in channel data management a market with huge potential where competitors appear to be scarce and users willing to consider these new types of software offerings. In this market, the IoT could empower companies like Zyme with the tools for improving the mechanisms driving complete channel visibility for its customers.
As with many other types of enterprise software applications, Zyme’s success will depend on how efficiently it can integrate with the existing software stack (customer relationship management [CRM], enterprise resource planning [ERP], and other systems) in order to ensure data management agility and timeliness, as well as accurate visibility and natural interactivity with other business operations. Zyme appears to be on a right path to achieving these goals.