Contribute Your Product Knowledge to Develop the Industry’s Harmonized Data Model (HDM)

IDEA Harmonized Data Model

Aug 4, 2022

Have you heard about the industry’s Harmonized Data Model (HDM) initiative? IDEA, in partnership with NAED, is calling all product experts to get involved and be recognized by the industry. People who join the Product Expert Task Force will impact the future of the electrical distribution channel.

In the next 6 months, subject matter experts (SMEs) will be harmonizing the categorization for dozens of product categories. It’s an opportunity for industry experts to participate as a SME in the HDM initiative. 

Subject Matter Expertise is Needed
As the product categories go through the harmonization process, industry experts will review and give input on recommendations made to the IDEA Category Attribute Schema (CAS). Industry participation will ensure that the HDM development team has identified all the critical attributes, assigned proper mapping of attributes between multiple standards, and provided appropriate attribute value lists for data normalization.

The intent is to harmonize the industry’s most important product categories first and then address additional categories over the following year.

Who can be a Subject Matter Expert (SME)?
• Product Managers
• Technical Sales
• E-Commerce Managers
• Merchandise Managers
• Category Managers
• Data Stewards
• Product Data Analysts

What is the Commitment?

Review Product Categories and Participate in Task Force Calls
Over the next 6 months, IDEA will be working through the roadmap of product categories (UNSPSC Codes) to harmonize. IDEA’s HDM team will align each SME’s product expertise with relevant categories and pull in experts as needed.

Each SME will be provided a product category workbook to review independently with scheduled conference calls with the committee to discuss the overall process and summary findings. Manual work is not required. SMEs will review and confirm categorizations or make different recommendations to the completed work IDEA presents.

How the Harmonized Data Model Benefits the Industry
The 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. It will evolve the IDEA Connector into a next-generation data platform, capable of efficiently supporting multiple syndication formats.

Manufacturers will be able to upload data in any format into IDEA Connector. The Harmonized Data Model will enable IDEA Connector to syndicate that product data into the formats that distributors need, including ETIM BMEcat, UNSPSC PAS/CAS, proprietary, custom, or Fusion. 

In defining the HDM, 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 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.

Make Your Voice Heard
Many leading distributors and manufacturers have already committed to provide SMEs for the Harmonized Data Model, but more experts are needed to ensure speedy implementation, industry accuracy, and balanced feedback. Each SMEs feedback will help guide the direction of HDM, ensuring it brings value to industry, manufacturers and distributors alike. 

Sign up here.


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