News & Events

This Week in IDEA | May 26, 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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Registration Opens for the 13th Annual IDEA E-Biz Forum 2011

The IDEA E-Biz Forum 2011 agenda, including general sessions and break-out tracks, is available on the Forum website ( along with the online registration forms for individuals, sponsors and exhibitors. The 2011 Forum is themed “Gateway to Change: Shift Ideas to Results,” and runs September 26 – 28, in St. Louis, Missouri at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ball Park.

“I value continuous learning and am proud to be part of a community that makes it a priority. Each year, I look forward to helping the electrical distribution channel progress in the field of eBusiness, and this event provides the education, connections, and conversations our customers need to grow their businesses,” said Bob Gaylord, president and CEO, IDEA. “As a past attendee said, ‘problems are usually solved on the spot!’”

Tim Sanders, New York Times bestselling author and former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!, returns to the Forum as the opening keynote speaker on day two. Sanders made his last appearance at the 2008 Forum where he received rave reviews from attendees.

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) will host a reception to welcome NAED members to their headquarter city on Tuesday, September 27 after the NAED breakout track on technical training.

Additional Educational Highlights:

  • Three industry panels featuring manufacturer and distributor leaders in the electrical industry
  • Best practices and lessons learned from IDEA users including: Border States Electric, Cooper Industries, Crescent Electric Supply, ERICO, and Viking Electric Supply
  • User groups and training on IDEA’s B2B eCommerce and synchronization solutions including: IDW, IDX, IRD CERICOMX®, and education on the new solutions released this year
  • Education from leading technology companies including: Epicor, DATAgility, Gartner, IBM, Heiler Software, ElectricSmarts, Third Eye Consulting and many more
  • View more details about the 2011 Forum agenda

The Forum also features the annual Tech Center, an event for technology companies to demonstrate products and interact with their customers and potential customers. The Tech Fair and Welcome Reception kicks off the Forum.

The event is tailored to professionals who are part of the electrical supply chain in these roles: CEOs and senior executives, IT and eBusiness, product managers, operations, and sales and marketing. The annual event is co-hosted by IDEA; the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED); the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA); Electro-Federation Canada (EFC); and the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA).

2011 sponsors: Epicor, DATAgility, Sterling Commerce, Eaton, Border States, Digital Business Architects, EFC, General Electric, ILSCO, Kirby Risk, and Lutron.

Early-bird discounts end on June 30. Please visit for more event information and to register online.

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Standards Updates Make Populating IDW Easier

The IDEA Industry Standards Committee (ISC) released a new version of the Product Data Descriptor (PDD)--a standardized template manufacturers use to upload product data into the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) via electronic data interchange (EDI)--and a new version of the EZView Flat File--a subset of the PDD that can be used by companies that are not EDI capable. Both documents have consistent verbiage and coding, and have been enhanced to improve the user experience.

The formatting of both documents has been changed and new worksheet tabs have been added to make it easier to understand the coding.

Code lists and legends have been added within the documents so that users don’t have to search through EDI mapping software.

The new PDD and EZView Flat File will help manufacturers understand the necessary fields for the IDW, and how to properly load and manage them. These documents provide distributors with a guide to the types of data fields that they can expect to receive from the manufacturers, what is mandatory, and what could be supplied if the manufacturer has the information available in their business system.

Additionally, there are multiple guideline documents available on the IDEA Portal to further assist in understanding the fields in IDW and how to use them including:

  • IDW Product Change Management Guideline
  • IDW Product Lifecycle Benefit Analysis
  • IDW Data Codes Whitepaper
  • IDEA Catalog Descriptive Field Guideline
  • Enhanced Attributes – Digital Images Guideline

You can download these documents from the Standards section of the IDEA Portal. For more information, please contact your account manager or email .  

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Former Activant CEO Named Epicor CEO

As most of you have heard, Apax Partners has completed the acquisition of Epicor Software Corporation and Activant Solutions Inc. As a result, Activant Solutions has changed its name to Epicor, and the integration of the two companies has begun. The first management updates came this week with the announcement of Pervez Qureshi, former CEO and President of Activant, being named President and CEO of Epicor, effective immediately.

"The new Epicor is a true global leader in industry-specific business applications software with over 33,000 customers in more than 150 countries," said Qureshi. "I am honored to have the opportunity to lead our newly combined company through its next phase of growth, and build on the momentum of market leadership, innovation and a customer-focused culture that is our shared heritage. Above all, I look forward to working with an immensely talented team of over 4,000 employees to deliver even greater value to the customers and markets we serve – from manufacturing, distribution and services, to hardgoods and softgoods retailing."

The company also announced the appointment of Kathy Crusco as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Epicor. Crusco joined the former Activant in May 2007, and brings over 20 years of experience serving in a variety of financial roles at Documentum Inc., Adaptec and Price Waterhouse LLP.

Former Epicor Chairman, President and CEO George Klaus will retain the role of Chairman and continue to play an important part in the company's strategic development.

Read the complete Epicor press release>

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Epicor, Sterling Commerce, Digital Business Architects, ILSCO, Kirby Risk: Sponsors of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2011

Thanks to Epicor for their Premiere sponsorship, Sterling Commerce for their Diamond sponsorship, and Digital Business Architects, ILSCO, Kirby Risk for their Bronze sponsorship of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2011. These companies demonstrate their support of the only eBusiness event dedicated to business-to-business leaders in the electrical supply chain. Only one more Premiere sponsor spot left!

Epicor Software Corporation (recently combined with Activant Solutions Inc.) is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries. With nearly 40 years of experience serving midmarket organizations and divisions of Global 1000 companies, Epicor has more than 33,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP), point of sale (POS), supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional and global businesses demand. The Company’s headquarters are located in California, with offices and affiliates worldwide. For more information, visit  

Sterling Commerce, an IBM® Company, helps organizations worldwide increase business agility in their dynamic business network through innovative solutions for selling and fulfillment and for seamless and secure integration with customers, partners and suppliers. More information can be found at


Digital Business Architects (DBA) specializes in delivering web-based, collaborative software solutions. At DBA we design, develop and deploy robust applications that enable our clients to achieve superior effectiveness and efficiency in managing complex information flows.


ILSCO is the largest direct supplier of mechanical connectors to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in the United States and Canada. Through Electrical Distributors, ILSCO supplies connectors, tools and accessories to the commercial and industrial construction market as well as for maintenance and repair. The UTILCO Division of ILSCO is a major supplier of underground and overhead secondary distribution products to Electrical Utilities. Find out more at


Kirby Risk Electrical Supply is a distributor of high-quality, state-of-the-art electrical, automation, lighting and power distribution solutions. They have 38 locations throughout Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. Kirby Risk provides a wide range of services, including electrical apparatus sales and repair services, wiring harness/cable manufacturing and quality industrial component manufacturing. Find out more at

Join these companies and become a Forum sponsor>

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New B2B eCommerce and Synchronization Customers

New IDX Customer

MedFIRST Health Care Supply, Inc. of Clermont, FL became an IDEA customer on May 16, 2011. Since 1990, MedFIRST Healthcare Supply, Inc. has served the medical marketplace as a wholesale medical distributor of medical supplies and diagnostic, surgical and lab equipment to physicians and surgery centers. They will take advantage of the cost savings and reliability of Industry Data Exchange (IDX) to exchange B2B documents electronically. Find out more at  

New IRD 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 22 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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