Syndicate to Many Formats. More Consistent Product Data.

What is the Harmonized Data Model (HDM)?

The Harmonized Data Model (HDM) initiative is defining a unified data model in IDEA Connector that enables manufacturers to easily syndicate to multiple formats and empowers distributors’ eCommerce experiences with more consistent, normalized product data.

NEMA and NAED Support Industry HDM Initiative

Today’s eCommerce markets require that manufacturers provide product data in a wide variety of formats. In addition, distributors continually stress the need for consistent, accurate, and comprehensive product data.

NEMA and NAED have directed IDEA to tackle these twin challenges through the creation of the Harmonized Data Model (HDM) initiative —an initiative which both NEMA and NAED fully advocate and support.

The purpose of the HDM project is to evolve the IDEA Connector data model into a next generation data platform, capable of efficiently supporting multiple syndication formats. In defining the HDM data model, the harmonization process identifies the common attributes, as well as those unique to a syndication format.

Not only will the HDM-based IDEA Connector allow manufacturers to more efficiently upload their data to support multiple formats, but the HDM data model will also eliminate the need for distributors to make downstream modifications, which will ensure consistency and provide a better eCommerce experience for their end users.

HDM will define attribute values in product categories for consistency. For example, the color black currently may be defined as “black,” “B,” “BK,” or “BLK” in a manufacturer’s product data. With HDM, industry subject matter experts will define one value for attributes, like black, so the resulting data will be consistent. This will ultimately help eCommerce customers easily find and purchase products.

HDM is initially focusing on supporting both UNSPSC PAS/CAS and ETIM BMEcat, but other formats will be added in future iterations, ensuring IDEA Connector’s long-term applicability in the electrical industry.

The Entire Electrical Industry Benefits from HDM

Manufacturers Save Time in Data Projects

Syndicating product data in many different data formats is a time-consuming and challenging process that can result in data inconsistencies and errors.

With the Harmonized Data Model, manufacturers will only need to input data once to syndicate globally to many formats.

Distributors Gain More Normalized Data

Distributors need to make it easier for customers to find and buy products online. Inconsistencies in attributes can hinder a product search and make it difficult for customers to make a purchase.

HDM will help categorize and normalize manufacturers’ product content so distributors can spend less time and money on data projects and ultimately sell more products.

Industry Involvement

The initiative started as the result of the Product Data Standards Task Force. Initiated by NEMA, the task force recommended that IDEA develop a harmonized data model and integrate that data model into IDEA Connector.

As the initiative evolves, the task force will transition into the HDM Advisory Council. The HDM Advisory Council will bring together manufacturers and distributors to work with IDEA to ensure the initiative is successful.

HDM Advisory Council

As we evolve the HDM initiative, and in conjunction with the PDSTF’s recommendations, IDEA is establishing this advisory group made up of both manufacturers and distributors that will work with IDEA to provide advice and guidance to ensure the HDM initiative is successful.


  • Matthew O’Kane, ABB
  • Vikram Dasa-Rao, Eaton Corporation
  • Rick Peters, Eaton Corporation
  • John Callen, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
  • Randy Niemiec, Panduit Corp.
  • Vivan Joshi, Rockwell Automation
  • Michael Perlman, Rockwell Automation
  • Erin Kalidindi, Schneider Electric
  • Dante Urzi, Schneider Electric


  • Chris Ziegelmann, Border States Industries, Inc.
  • Scott Davis, Kirby Risk Electrical Supply
  • Larry Panetta, McNaughton-McKay Electric Co.
  • Ashley Clark, Platt Electric Supply, Inc./Rexel
  • Todd O’Riley, Steiner Electric Co.

Your Expertise is Needed!

Take the opportunity to participate as a subject matter expert (SME) in the HDM Initiative.

Sign up now

HDM Next Steps

As HDM passes through its milestones and goes into production in IDEA Connector, the industry, as a whole, will be getting more involved. 

IDEA is gathering industry input about data needs and challenges from:

  • Newly formed HDM Advisory Council
  • IDEA Connector User Group
  • Industry Product Category Subject Matter Experts

This feedback will help guide the direction of HDM, ensuring it brings value to industry manufacturers and distributors alike. 

News & Media


Data Harmonization with John Callen


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