The industry-owned IDEA Connector is launching a new and more flexible platform to manage the channel’s all-important product data. The completely rebuilt IDEA Connector is going live January 31, 2020.
Formerly known as the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW), the IDEA Connector is a master data management platform that collects, validates, and distributes product data for more than 2.5 million SKUs.
The IDEA Connector’s new features will enable manufacturers to create one version of “the truth” and supply product data (including enriched marketing content like images, dimensions and spec sheets) directly to distributors and trading partners. As a result, distributors will gain accurate product information to populate their internal and external systems (ERPs, catalogs, web stores and mobile apps), thus improving efficiency as well as enhancing customer sales and service.
This is essential to the channel for remaining competitive, especially as the big boxes and Amazon step up their game in electrical.
Unlike its predecessor IDW, the IDEA Connector is amped up with data syndication and analytics capabilities. Customers get more flexibility with multiple data formats and access mechanisms, including global synchronization network or API to API (machine to machine) connections. Plus, artificial intelligence (AI) is on the roadmap.
Key features that set IDEA Connector apart include:
- Categorized content with transparency on product data source
- Supplier-specific net pricing files for distributors
- Validated data based on wholesale industry eBusiness standards, ensuring quality and consistency
- Customized data extraction settings and price sheet options for specific suppliers
Distributors will also have an expanded quality assurance program when IDEA Connector goes live. Customers gain data assurance scoring per manufacturer vs. the generalized scoring for the industry that is currently available.
In addition, distributors can tailor their data quality scores by selecting specific products and attributes they want to measure in IDEA Connector. Then, distributors can communicate those measurements directly with trading partners.
What do you need to know about the new IDEA Connector platform launch?
IDEA’s transition to the new platform is designed to be as seamless as possible. IDEA will migrate each customers’ product data, authorizations, custom maps, data extract requests and account profile information to IDEA Connector.
Every company needs to ensure their key team members complete IDEA Connector training. The folks at IDEA advise that distributors and manufacturers ensure that staff is trained before Jan. 10.
The IDEA Connector team has published a detailed roll-out and testing schedule in the Frequently Asked Questions document.
How can your company prepare for the IDEA Connector launch?
- Begin with taking the modules in the IDEA Learning Portal.
- Then login into the IDEA Connector testing environment to start working with the data and complete the suggested exercises.
- Attend the IDEA Connector Q&A webinars, every Thursday from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET, for updates and questions.
Where can I find out more?
IDEA has published detailed instructions in the IDEA Connector FAQ.
Make plans to engage and prepare. Customer contacts will receive emailed instructions on how to access the IDEA Learning Portal and the weekly Q&A Webinars.