November 29, 2007

Moving Forward

Going forward there are many more opportunities for IDEA to provide leading edge solutions for the channel, be it electronic product code, level 3 processing, software as a service (SAAS) and other services that will help IDEA customers cut costs and grow their business. However, the ability to take advantage of new applications, services and technologies remains business formation because information (data) is the fuel that runs eBusiness. Without standardized, complete, accurate, timely and synchronized business information none of the services mentioned above are worthwhile; they are just expensive applications and services that deliver and process bad or inaccurate information faster and more efficiently.

For some unexplainable reason, the power of information has not been totally embraced. Sure there are many of the key suppliers and distributors that support data sync and the IDW, but when you pull back the covers, even some of those companies come up short.

In November 2005 discussions were initiated again (3rd time) between IDEA and Trade Service to explore new ways for the two organizations to cooperate and deliver a single data content solution to the electro-industry that would enable data sync throughout the supply chain. In the following 18 months, a joint venture agreement and business model was crafted that would have, if approved, gotten the industry to the data sync goal line much faster. Both IDEA and Trade Service would have worked together in sourcing information from suppliers, driving data quality and delivering products under the IDEA brand. With the combined resources, over 50 IDEA and TSC industry experts would have been dedicated together to meet the business needs of the channel. There was no doubt from those of us that crafted the program that this would have been a major positive tipping point for the industry. Unfortunately, the proposed partnership did not get industry approval, and from this author’s perspective, a great opportunity was missed. Hopefully, this program will be reconsidered in the near future.

In the mean time, everyone in the channel should make data synchronization and data quality a top priority at their company. This needs to be done with specific actions, concrete processes and C-level responsibility and accountability, not just lip service, to ensure that the information that trading partners and customers need to sell and buy more products is available 24×7 through the most reliable, seamless and burden free method possible, the IDW.