January 8, 2015

2014 Highlights & IDEA by the Numbers

2014 was a year of progress at IDEA, from an increased focus on the quality and completeness of data in the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) and an expanding Industry Data Exchange (IDX), to connecting with our customers at the IDEA E-Biz Forum and addressing industry data needs. We’ve compiled a summary of some of this year’s highlights, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2015!  

IDW Enhancements – In our continuous effort to be a single source of complete, high-quality data delivered efficiently and cost effectively to the industry, IDEA introduced several new programs and tools for both manufacturer and distributor IDW users in 2014, including:

  • IDW Catalog Plus, which gives subscribing distributors access to normalized product attributes, digital content URLs hosted by IDEA, and IDEA-sourced product data for 20,000+ new products in the IDW.
  • The IDW now has a new data quality issue reporting feature for both distributors and manufacturers. IDW users can report item-level data quality concerns directly within the IDW, facilitating communication between trading partners and continuously improving IDW data.
  • IDEA launched the IDW for Manufacturers Support Program, providing tools and professional services to make it easier and more efficient for manufacturers to work with their distributor trading partners and reach the end user market.
  • The IDW is now connected directly to the ConEst IntelliBid contractor estimating system via ElectricSmarts’ NetPricer service, making quality IDW data available to contractors for project bids. Additional estimating systems will integrate with the IDW in 2015.  

IDX Expansion – Throughout 2014, electronic data interchange (EDI) business experienced growth, reflecting a recovering, robust economy. As such, the IDX has added features and functionality to meet our subscribers’ evolving needs. For example, IDEA continues to grow our global reach with the IDX, which now supports the VDA Standard (Germany’s automotive standard), creating an opportunity for those IDX users who wish to do business in Europe. In addition, IDEA’s new Software as a Service (SaaS) partnership with IBM/Sterling allows IDX subscribers to enjoy even greater solution offerings such as analytics tools, volume alerting, and more.

IDEA Growth – This November, we announced our new President and CEO, Paul Molitor. He joined IDEA from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), where he most recently served as Assistant Vice President, Strategy and Policy. Molitor has a rich history of technology and business experience in both large and small company settings.

In addition, several existing IDEA team members took on new roles as part of IDEA’s ongoing effort to expand the overall IDW data quality process and help IDEA advance throughout 2014 and beyond: Mike Wentz was appointed as Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing; Barbara Prince became Manager, Distributor Services and Content Quality, responsible for managing the IDW Distributor Support and Quality Control team; and Susan Streich became Manager, Wholesale Data Services, responsible for managing the IDW Data Management Specialist team, which works in conjunction with Prince’s team.

IDEA by the Numbers 

Now, let’s take a look at some numbers driving us from 2014 into 2015:

43 Critical Fields – IDEA’s Data Certification Program, announced in October, was developed as the first ever metric for both quantity and quality, assessing 43 transactional and descriptive product information fields in the IDW that distributors have identified as necessary to do business today.

16 Industry Events Attended – We traveled the country in 2014, attending a variety of industry events. In fact, you may have spoken with us at NAED regional conferences, IMARK and AD conferences,Lightfair, or NEMA Illuminations. We value the input we receive from our customers and those within the industry, and we’ll continue to attend conferences nationwide in 2015 – make sure to stop by and talk to us!  

8 EDI Expert Videos –This year, we began our EDI Expert Video series, answering your key questions about electronic data interchange (EDI), such as how to keep mapping costs down and why EDI transactions sometimes fail. If you have a question you’d like answered in 2015, let us know!  

3 Days in Long BeachIDEA’s E-Biz Forum, the industry’s only eBusiness event, brought manufacturers and distributors to Long Beach, CA in September. 2014’s theme was “Full Steam Ahead: Moving Forward Together,” emphasizing the need for our industry to collaborate internally and externally to progress into the fast-moving business future. Highlights included keynote speaker Greg Verdino, presenting “The Hyper Networked Now: Collaborate, Innovate & Create New Opportunities for Growth,” and an Industry Advisory Council Panel, announcing the new Data Certification Program.

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