DDEX standards have been widely implemented across the digital value chain by organisations that are multi-national house-hold names to small start-up companies. Well over 4,000 companies have been issued with DDEX Party Identifiers (DPIDs) and are therefore able to participate in the DDEX ecosystem.
Implementers range from companies such as digital retailers, digital distributors and aggregators, record companies, sound recording and performer rights societies, music publishers, music work rights societies to various technical service providers. If you are considering implementing one of DDEX’s standards you will be in good company.
Experience has shown that successful implementations follow a four-step approach:
- Communication with a partner to exchange DDEX messages with
- Mapping systems to the standards
- Implementation planning
- Integrating with a partner
The easiest way to implement a DDEX standard is with a business partner. So, if a company is planning to send DDEX messages it should partner with someone who wishes to receive data in a DDEX format. Ideally, the partner has already implemented DDEX. But even if not, implementing it together has proven to lead to fewer errors as issues are likely to be found early on.
Mapping systems to the standards
The first, and easily the most complex, step is to map the data fields from a company’s existing databases to the fields supported by the relevant DDEX standard. The DDEX standards are based on a comprehensive data model describing works, resources, releases, right shares, parties, deals and other entities. Not all companies’ databases will be as granular (or even need to be as granular).
Once a company has decided on an architecture for its implementation and once it has created a mapping between its database and the relevant DDEX standard, the company’s operations personnel need to gather the technical information and business requirements to fulfil their part of the supply chain. This will make the work on the actual implementation much easier.
Integrating with a partner
When choosing a partner to work with, either during the development phase or after a company has successfully implemented its DDEX system, the partners need to agree details about the data exchange, including the message standard or profile to use as well as the message exchange choreography or protocol to employ.
Once this is agreed, the partners should run orchestration tests to ensure the SFTP server or Web Servers communications works as envisaged. Only then can integration tests be conducted. During the integration phase, the sender and receiver will need to conduct a “peer conformance procedure” where: (i) the sender determines if the receiver is able to receive and ingest messages according to the provided test packages and (ii) the receiver reviews the test packages from the sender to verify the delivered packages complies with the standards.
The sender will need to send a series of sample messages containing test data for a range of business scenarios. These sample messages are intended to test the receiver’s ability to receive and ingest them using the chosen delivery choreography, as well as their ability to correctly interpret the content of the messages.
DDEX provides both senders and receivers with a consistent means of interpreting the metadata within messages. During the integration phase, the sender would typically send the receiver various messages representing different constructs within the message standard, depending on which standard is being used. More detail of the nature of such constructs is available in the context of the explanations of each message standard on the Knowledge Base.
The test messages, delivered during the conformance test phase, will need to have the IsTestFlag set to True to indicate that the messages are test messages and their content should not be made available outside the test environment. These messages ensure that the receiver’s ingestion engine interprets the messages accurately. During this process, the sender will need to verify the message ingestion results with each receiver based on their choice of choreography.
After the sender and receiver have passed the integration conformance tests, the sender can “turn on” the digital feed in the value chain to kick off the production deliveries of messages.