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This Week in IDEA | January 5, 2011

Our eNewsletter, This Week in IDEA, keeps you informed with the latest news and education about IDEA, our solutions and services, and our customers and partners. IDEA’s knowledgeable staff and other contributing writers share insights, resources and special offers to help you Unleash the power of e. Subscribe now to receive This Week in IDEA in your email inbox every other Thursday and add our RSS feed to your reader.


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Final Segment of the “Catapulting the Curve” Podcast Series

In this segment, Larry Stern and Del Nickel conclude their discussion about the progress of eCommerce in the electrical industry from a senior executive’s perspective. They share their one wish related to IDEA’s mission of cutting costs from the channel and touch on why they volunteer their time on the IDEA Board.

“This industry has grown up a combination of employee-owned, large scale corporations, public and internationally-owned organizations, and the majority of electrical distributors are still independent, entrepreneurial owners and organizations who are working every day to support employees, grow business, provide return and improve productivity. If they don’t think that in today’s world you have to be eCommerce and B2B literate, they are missing a really critical competitive issue. There are highly-capitalized, worldwide players with names such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Grainger and others who have scale, capital and resources and the internal wherewithal to launch effective, B2B sites and they’ll make those investments internally.”

-- Del Nickel, past president, Pentair Technical Products

“We believe in this personally for our own businesses; it’s something very important that helps drive our business and we have the desire and passion to want the industry to promote it also. Personally, you get back what you put in; I just enjoy being part of the process and seeing the movement in the industry, because I believe it is the right direction and the right thing to do.”

– Larry Stern, president, Standard Electric Supply

Listen to the final segment of “Catapulting the Curve”>

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IDEA/ElectricSmarts Partnership FAQs

As a result of the IDEA and ElectricSmarts partnership, IDEA is now able to offer expanded services to its IDW customers. But before everyone can experience the benefits, manufacturers must approve the IDW authorization request from ElectricSmarts. Read on to find out what product data ElectricSmarts will have access to upon authorization approval and how they plan to use it to benefit your company.

Who is ElectricSmarts? ElectricSmarts ( has been a part of the electrical industry specializing in web-based marketing, eLearning, and eCommerce services for over a decade. They work with electrical contractors, specifiers, MROs, OEMs, distributors, and manufacturers throughout the industry to communicate product marketing content downstream to end-users. ElectricSmarts supports manufacturers by helping them disseminate their product sales and marketing message throughout the channel through their distributors’ websites and end-user estimating systems. They also help companies optimize their exposures when customers search using product keywords.

How does ElectricSmarts use the product data in the IDW? IDEA developed a partnership with ElectricSmarts in order to provide additional value to IDW customers and their product information synchronization efforts. Once manufacturers provide ElectricSmarts with authorization in the IDW, they use the product marketing content to populate their eCatalog, SMART eCat, which is promoted on many distributor websites, and will also include that product information in estimating systems accessed by end-users such as contractors and specifiers. As a result, a manufacturer’s product information will be available in more places and accessible by the people who place the orders. Thus, when a buyer is selecting a product, that manufacturer’s product will be more likely to be purchased for jobs.

How much access does ElectricSmarts have to the product data in the IDW? What fields will ElectricSmarts receive upon a customer approval? ElectricSmarts does not have access to any distributor-specific pricing. The only pricing they receive is T3 pricing, otherwise known as the published trade price. In addition to that, they’ll also receive basic transactional data and catalog content (only what is considered public information). Download a complete list of the product data fields that ElectricSmarts will have access to upon authorization approval.

For additional information about the IDEA and ElectricSmarts partnership or the services provided, please contact .

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Speak at the 2012 E-Biz Forum

The theme of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2012--September 25-27 in Dallas, TX at the Omni Mandalay--is “Reunite. Rethink. Recharge.,” and we’re looking for speakers who can bring this theme to life. Leverage this opportunity to share your eBusiness experiences, fresh approaches, challenges and successes with your industry peers.

Speaker benefits:

  • Position your company as a thought leader
  • Professional career development
  • Complimentary registration (a $675 value) which includes access to all conference activities, scheduled meals, social functions and conference program materials

Topics to consider:

We want you to speak about a topic in which you’re knowledgeable and deem significant to share. Our main goal is to increase value for attendees who have indicated high interest in the subjects below. If you share that interest and have lessons that will help others succeed, please submit a speaker form related to one of these topics:

  • Business strategies and organizational anecdotes for ­integrating social and mobile technologies into digital marketing
  • Success stories/examples of how distributors are utilizing and leveraging manufacturer product information including marketing content and attributes
  • Trading partner relationships that work – how manufacturers, distributors and retailers are communicating effectively to meet shared goals and objectives
  • Organizational solutions for adopting and implementing the Data Management Platform (DMP) from distributor and manufacturer perspectives
  • Utilizing eBusiness to accomplish green and sustainability alternatives for your business
  • How to prepare your data for building information modeling (BIM)
  • Strategies to generate internal buy-in of and support for data sync initiatives
  • Industry trends and best practices for eCommerce, EDI and data sync
  • Optimizing your eCatalog/web storefront with the product information your customers are searching for and need to make purchasing decisions
  • How to prioritize your product data clean-up/integration­ initiatives

If you or someone at your company is interested in speaking, please submit the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2012 Speaker Prospect Form and email it to or fax to . Submission deadline: Monday, March 5.

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Emerging Technologies for Distributors in 2012

Content courtesy of Modern Distribution Management

Modern Distribution Management posted an article reviewing the top technologies in 2012 that could affect your business. Their own research and also the predictions of consulting firm, Deloitte, and market research firm, The SMB Group, indicate that cloud computing will take on an even more significant role in business operations. In addition, Deloitte and The SMB Group add that mobile and social technology will combine with cloud computing to form a powerful combination, what The SMB Group has named the “trend triumvirate.” The SMB Group also predicts that concerns about the economy will hinder IT investment in 2012.

For more 2012 predictions, read the article on>

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New Synchronization Customers

As a 1SYNC Data Pool On-Board Solution (OBS) partner, IDEA implements suppliers that subscribe to the 1SYNC data pool using the IRD CERICOMX® Data Synchronization Platform. IDEA was recently assigned 25 suppliers:

These companies will be trained to use IRD CERICOMX®, an online catalog that suppliers use to register product data with the GS1 Registry® and GDSN via the 1SYNC Data Pool. Suppliers also use this solution to publish product data to demand partners including retailers such as Lowe’s and Walmart.

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