As IDEA prepares for the IDEA Connector sm launch, we want to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.  We have created a FAQ to make sure you have all the information you need to have for a smooth transition.  IDEA will continue to update the site as new information becomes available.

  • Will I be able to test and train on IDEA Connector before the site launches?

    Yes, everyone will receive training on IDEA Learning Portal.  You will receive an email with login credentials and a link per the schedule below.  

  • What is the Customer testing and training schedule?

    Sept. 23 – Jan. 10
    eBiz trained users have access

    Oct. 14 – Jan. 10
    All users from eBiz trained companies have access

    Nov. 4 – Jan. 10
    IDEA Connector sm open to all users for testing and training

  • When will eBiz attendees be able to start training?

    September 23, 2019

  • When will the User Group be able to train and test IDEA Connector?

    October 14, 2019

  • When will customers who did not attend eBiz or are part of the User group train and test?

    November 4, 2019

  • What are the training options?

    The IDEA Client Solutions team recommends you start with the IDEA Learning Portal.  You will receive an email with log-in information from IDEA.  Also, attend the weekly webinars to keep you up to date on the roll-out of the new system.

  • If I have issues how do I bring them to someone’s attention?

    If you have issues after training on the IDEA Learning Portal and accessing, please contact the Client Solutions team at IDEAClientSolutions@idea4industry.com

  • What training and testing is recommended?
    • Begin with taking the modules in IDEA Learning Portal.    
    • Then login into the IDEA Connectorsm testing environment to start working with the data complete the suggested exercises.
    • Attend the IDEA Connectorsm  Q&A webinars held every Thursday from 2p-3p ET for updates and questions. 
  • Will the training and test environment be down for maintenance?

    The training and test environment may be down for maintenance on Friday, Saturday and Sundays.  If we have taken it down, a message will be displayed when you attempt to access the URL.

  • How will my data transfer to IDEA Connector?

    IDEA will migrate all your product data, authorizations, custom maps, data  extract requests and account profile information from IDW to IDEA Connectorsm .


  • Will there be changes to my IDW users with IDEA Connector?

    Yes, Sherri Thorne is contacting the primary contact at each company to validate your users.  Only validated users will be loaded into the new IDEA Connectorsm.  Additional users may require a modification to your existing agreement.

  • How will my data be validated?

    IDEA has been verifying the data we import from the IDW and from files being sent to the IDW to ensure they are the same in IDEA Connector.  We will continue to do this throughout the transition.  Today, we have a program that takes all files sent to the IDW and re-routes them to IDEA Connector where we verify the data. 

  • As a manufacturer, can I validate my product data?

    Yes!  IDEA’s Industry Advisory Council was very clear the manufacturers need to verify their data and we have such a plan. The data verification schedule is below.

    After the November dry run IDEA Connectorsm, we will export product data, from IDW and IDEA Connectorsm in flat file formats at that same moment in time.  These files will be provided to the manufacturers by December 1.  You will have 10 days for verification of the migrated information. If you need more time contact the IDEA Client Solutions team.

    Data Verification Schedule

    Sept 23 – Jan 4

    IDEA team verifies product data (Compare daily files downloads in IDW v IDEA Connectorsm

    Oct 28 – Jan 1

    Dry run 7 (full IDW data down load to IDEA Connectorsm  )

    Nov 1 – Nov 7 

    IDEA verifies data from Dry run 7

    Nov 11 – Nov 17

    Dry run 8

    Nov 17 – Nov 30

    IDEA creates CSV files from IDW and IDEA Connectorsm   for manufacturers to compare data

    Dec 1 – Dec 10

    Manufacturers verify IDW data vs IDEA Connectorsm data

    Jan 6 – Jan 11

    Dry run 9




  • When does IDEA Connector go live?

    January 31

  • Why did you pick January 31 as the IDEA Connector go live date?

    Much consideration has gone into our choice of the go live date.  Year-end close, providing our customer base time to prepare, system readiness, training, pricing schedules, etc.

    IDEA has several hundred customers to “take live” simultaneously and we want to ensure every customer is prepared.

  • What do I need to do to prepare for go live?
    • Validate your users with Sherri Thorne, Director of Client Solutions sthorne@idea4industry.com
    • Make note of IDEA’s new FTP address for accessing your folders for dropping and picking up files.
    • If you have a system that automatically drops or retrieves files to/from IDEA’s FTP site,
      • Contact Sherri Thorne for your new credentials.
      • Contact your IT department to begin the conversation about switching to the new credentials. 
  • What is the timeline for the go-live prep activities?

    Nov 4 – Jan 17
    Customers test automated systems connection to new FTP (if applicable)

    Jan 11
    System freeze–final changes installed

    Jan 12 – 22
    System smoke test

    Jan 22
    Final day manufacturer files will be loaded to IDW
    Manufacturers can still send files, IDEA will load prior to go-live
    IDW still available for distributor extracts

    Jan 22 – 23
    IDEA verifies custom mappings, authorizations

    Jan 24
    Final data migration process from IDW begins

    Jan 24 -Jan 30
    Customers point their automated systems to IDEA’s new FTP (if applicable)

    Jan 27 – 30
    IDEA verifies migrated data, loads manufacturer files from previous week

    Jan 31
    IDEA Connectorsm Live

  • As a Distributor, what activities should I complete in the IDEA Connector?
    1. Setup
      1. Add new contact
      2. Create new FTP folder and give authorization
    2. Authorizations
      1. Review authorizations
      2. Request company auth from mfr
      3. Request class
      4. Request price sheet
    3. Search and View Products
    4. Extract data
      1. Create a custom map
      2. create a product set
      3. Create a data transfer profile
      4. Create an extract using above
    5. Extras
      1. Create a preference (don’t set as global)
      2. Create a saved set
      3. Create a saved Search
      4. Export Data


  • As a Manufacturer, what activities should I complete in the IDEA Connector training environment?
    1. Setup
      1. Add new contact
      2. Add new brand, etc.
      3. Create new FTP folder and give auth
    2. Products
      1. Search and view products
      2. Load Products – all formats
      3. Review load summary
      4. Correct product errors using IDEA Connector UI
      5. Load Updated Pricing
      6. Delete a Product
    3. Extract
      1. Create a custom map
      2. Create a product set
      3. Create a data transfer profile
      4. Create an extract using above
    4. Authorizations
      1. Review your authorizations
      2. Provide authorization to a new distributor
      3. Respond to a distributor’s company auth request – grant
      4. Respond to a distributor’s company auth request – deny
      5. Respond to a distributor’s price sheet auth request
      6. Respond to a distributor’s class code auth request
    5. Extras
      1. Create a preference (don’t set as global)
      2. Create a saved set
      3. Create a saved search
  • What are the preferred browsers for IDEA Connector?

    Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer Edge (other IE versions may cause interface inconsistencies)