November/December 2020 | Vol. 25 No. 6
by David Oldfather, Chief Executive Officer, IDEA
RECOMMITTING TO STANDARDS
At IDEA, our stated mission has historically been to be a single source of high quality, complete product data and as serve as the Standards body for the electrical industry. Yet, I recognize that for the past year the IDEA role with Standards has been unclear.
I want to provide an update on what we are doing at IDEA to help manufacturers, and where we are headed for the future.
IDEA has recommitted to being the Standards leader for the electrical industry. To this end, we’ve joined the board of European Technical Information Model (ETIM) North America and agreed to serve as the lead for the Electrical sector.
PROOF OF CONCEPT FOR NEW “SUPER” DATA MODEL
IDEA has also re-engaged with the Product Data Standards Task Force (PDSTF), which addresses the electrical industry’s need for a rigorous, reliable set of data Standards. This group, initially sponsored by NEMA (and later by the IDEA Board of Directors), also focuses on product information needs both now and into the future.
Working closely with PDSTF Members, our team is working on a proof of concept for a new “super” data model. We’re also collaborating with other Standards groups, like United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) and Euro Technical Information Model (ETIM), to harmonize the data models.
The goal is to determine whether a unified data Standards model is viable and can be applied to IDEA Connector’s dataset. At the same time, we will be working to develop a more nimble process to rigorously review Standards while still being able to anticipate and quickly respond to market needs.
We are targeting the end of this year to present the proof of concept for a “superset” data model with harmonized Standards. It will outline the effort involved, participation needed, objectives, and timelines, as well as what it will take to formalize and enforce the Standards going forward. The proof of concept will be released first to the IDEA Board, and then to the NEMA and National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Boards.
SYNDICATE PRODUCT DATA MORE EFFICIENTLY
IDEA is also planning to enhance IDEA Connector’s data model, which will be a big step forward in streamlining the process validation and implementation. This will remove friction in the supply chain and make the data easier to search on eCommerce websites.
We are focused on enabling manufacturers to syndicate their product data more efficiently and empowering distributors to sell more products from their digital shelves.
MANUFACTURER FEEDBACK WELCOME
I believe it’s essential that we keep working together to solve industry challenges. We recognize that the requirements for high-quality data are accelerating and that the need for IDEA to fulfill its mission successfully is correspondingly even more critical.
The IDEA team has been proactively reaching out to industry organizations and leaders. Monthly, I’m meeting with the IDEA board, and these industry leaders share our vision. I’ve also begun attending NEMA board meetings and plan to attend NAED board meetings to gather feedback and consensus on our roadmap.
Moving forward, we plan to be as transparent as possible. We’re setting milestones and will be accountable for what we say we’ll do. It often takes a while to get alignment, so we’ll be as realistic as possible.
Finally, please do not hesitate to share your observations and feedback with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want and need to hear from you. ei