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IBM Product Master's feature for handling products as a family

By Jyothi P posted Tue August 08, 2023 04:48 AM


IBM Product Master's feature for handling products as a family

A Product family is a collection of products belonging to the same type but are sold in multiple variations. These products are almost similar in all aspects except for some limited attributes like color, size, and so on. Such product variations are the options of a "master" or a base product. These product collections are organized as a Parent and Child relationship, where the child derives most of its data from the parent. This kind of setup is very common across multiple industries like Retail, Consumer packaged goods (CPG), and so on. IBM Product Master's out-of-the-box (OOTB) "Product Family" feature supports end users to easily handle this Parent-Child relationship.

What is a Product Family

The Product family is a concept of defining the Products and their variations in a typical hierarchical relationship model. In this model, the main Product is called Base Product whereas each variation of the base is called its Variants.

Business value

  • Variants inherit the properties of the base product, thereby providing real-time sync with the Base, thus reducing the maintenance overhead.
  • Variants can override the properties, as the variants are the final sellable entity, they would need properties different from the Base product based on the market they are being sold in.
  • Variants can define their distinct properties.
  • Maintaining a single source of data for the product having multiple variants, thus eliminating product information inconsistencies
  • Provides a hierarchical structure for the Base and Variants giving a clear idea to the user related to the saleable SKU's.

Product Family feature in the IBM Product Master

The Product family feature is available OOTB within IBM Product Master. New as well as existing data can be enhanced to utilize the Product family feature by following a few sets of configurations.

Up to 3 levels of hierarchy are supported within this feature. "Base" is the highest level in the hierarchy followed by Variant -> SubVariant -> SubVariant2.

The child inherits the data from its immediate parent and has the option to override the value based on the Business requirement. Each Variant within a level is different from the other variants at that same level by some key attribute, referred to as "Differentiators". Variants have the same categorization as the Product in the Primary Hierarchy.

Let us consider an example to understand the feature in detail!

Consider the Product "Peter England Slim Fit Jeans". This product can have multiple variations depending on the "Colors" and "Size". Users can just create the Base product with all the required details and the colors and sizes available for the product.

Now using the OOTB capability to "Create Variants", the user can generate the entire hierarchy of products in just 1 click. So, if we have,

On variant creation, we will have 2 Variant products for Black and Blue colors respectively and 4 Sub-Variants for Black-Medium, Black-Large, Blue-Medium & Blue-Large colors respectively. So here the customer has generated the 4 SKUs by creating only 1 product.

Following is an illustration of the Peter England Slim-fit Jeans – Black – Large Variant, displaying the inherited (I) and overridden (O) values.


IBM Product master's OOTB Product Family feature can be configured on any data model having products that have a Parent-Child kind of relationship and differ from each other based on only 1 or 2 specific attribute values. The feature ensures to reduce the maintenance efforts for end users and helps end users maintain just a single source of data and propagate all the properties down the hierarchy tree.