January 23, 2017

Trends to Watch in 2017 – And How IDEA Is Already Responding

Every year sees new trends that shape the business environment, and keeping an eye on these trends is imperative for any business that wants to position itself advantageously. As we begin 2017, IDEA has taken a look at some of the top trends that are expected to have a strong impact on businesses of all stripes in the year ahead. By staying informed about how these trends develop, you can unlock opportunities for growth and make the most of 2017 for both your company and your customers.


Trend # 1: Marketing and IT are becoming fully integrated.

Marketing is increasingly digitaldata-driven, and real-time. We observe the same trends across different industries: marketing teams are employing advanced software for data analytics purposes, deepening their knowledge of technology to improve their company’s digital marketing strategy, and joining forces with their IT colleagues to capitalize on eCommerce opportunities. As marketing continues to embrace new technologies and become increasingly IT-dependent, there is a growing need for collaboration between marketing and IT experts. 

What IDEA Is Doing About It:

At IDEA, we understand that marketing and IT professionals need to work together to address the challenges of the continuously evolving eBusiness marketplace. As eCommerce and digital communications become more prevalent, the convergence between marketing and IT in our industry is more prevalent than ever. 

To foster collaboration between marketing and IT experts in the electrical industry, IDEA and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) are co-hosting a joint technology event in Chicago, IL, August 2-4, 2017. This event will be a great opportunity to connect with, and learn from, leaders in tech, IT, and marketing, and discuss how the merging of these fields can create momentum to push your business past your competitors. Registration opens in May 2017


Trend # 2: Automation is everywhere.

From self-driving vehicles and automated home electronics to sophisticated algorithms and intelligent software tools, advanced technology is enabling the automation of previously human-exclusive tasks. Smart machines are taking over jobs across various sectors and industries, and a wide range of business processes are being “machine-reengineered”.

What IDEA Is Doing About It: 

The ability to embrace automation is proving to be an important success factor for many companies in 2017, and this encompasses business communications, as well. With the rising number of companies engaging in electronic business processes, business-to-business (B2B) communication is evolving and growing ever more complex. 

A secure and efficient flow of information between companies, partners, and customers contributes significantly to effective business, and IDEA is committed to equipping our customers with the tools and support they need for the smooth interchange of information with their trading partners. For this reason, IDEA has partnered with Liaison Technologies to move the Industry Data Exchange (IDX) – our Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) service – to a Tier 1-level VAN. This upgrade will allow IDEA to offer an enhanced B2B electronic communication platform, and provide a reliable and cost-effective solution for all of our customers’ trading needs. Learn more about how IDEA’s upgraded EDI service can help your company succeed in 2017! 


Trend # 3: eCommerce, eCommerce, and more eCommerce! 

The fact that the digital commerce industry has been steadily growing is nothing new. Over the last few years, the volume of business transactions being conducted online has grown significantly. In the United States, online sales are expected to reach $523 billion by 2020, and digital marketing is on the rise with a record of $15 billion spent on online advertising in 2016. Today, eCommerce has become a virtual trading ground for companies of all sizes and across numerous industries, and while “eCommerce” has become a buzzword that many businesses are tired of hearing about, there is no doubt that the digital marketplace will continue to grow throughout 2017. In order to stay relevant and maintain a competitive edge, companies need to adopt a forward-thinking, innovative attitude. 

What IDEA Is Doing About It: 

The eCommerce space is highly competitive and favors those who innovate and quickly adapt to the continuously changing digital business environment. In the era of eCommerce, the key to successful business lies in quality product data. As more of the electrical industry’s transactions migrate online and customers’ expectations and buying habits change, data needs are growing from simple up-to-date pricing information to full-scale marketing content like zoomable product images and 3D images and demo videos. 

As part of IDEA’s continuous effort to effectively address the electrical channel’s product data needs, we have partnered with Stibo Systems to help IDEA build and deploy our next-generation Industry Data Warehouse (IDW). The current IDW platform serves as the electrical industry’s product information data pool for North American companies. The enhanced next-generation IDW platform will offer a more user-friendly interface, strengthen and enforce product data security and authorizations, and monitor and report on product data to ensure it adheres to quality and completeness standards. 

To stay competitive, you need to evolve with and embrace the changing times. In the era of eCommerce, investing in the future of your business means investing in complete, current, and accurate product data!