connecting product catalogs across disparate systems

Written Article: How to Help Non-Technical Teammates Understand Your Tech-Heavy Product, Pivotal Built to Adapt

users: n/a - backend functionality only

problem: merging product catalogs with similar yet different items and attributes from one company system downstream to a set of companies recently acquired

goal: to start, publish a product catalog change in one system, see the change in the other system - with minimal impact to either existing side

product features: 

  • update one product attribute in one company's product data management tool, data trickles downstream to a topic where it waits to be consumed...
  • ... when the other company triggers a REST app to retrieve and store the attribute data in the cloud...
  • ... which triggers a pub/sub to alert a batch fetch process to retrieve the data...
  • ... which then reformats and stages the data to be consumed by downstream systems

lessons learned: 

  • it's easier to talk about invisible backend behavior by personifying the systems themselves
  • simplify complex integrations by focusing on making the connections first with minimal data migration, then iterate on content being ingested