SEMA News—July 2012
BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
By Steve Campbell
Jon Wyly to Head SEMA Data Co-op
A Few Words With the New Chief Executive Officer
Jon Wyly was named CEO of the recently formed SEMA Data Cooperative, which is intended to be a central repository for clean, standardized product data for the specialty-parts aftermarket and to develop intuitive applications to disseminate and display product information to all users.
Wyly co-founded the SEMA Business Technology Committee (BTC) and served in numerous SEMA task forces and work groups, including six years on the SEMA Board of Directors. He was named SEMA Person of the Year in 2005 in recognition of his contributions to the aftermarket.
In a recent interview with SEMA Member News, Wyly spoke about the objectives of the SDC.
SEMA Member News: What is the purpose of the SEMA Data Cooperative?
Jon Wyly: The mission of the SDC is to encourage and enable the development, safe storage and universal export of industry product data. Through key business tools and processes, the SDC will enable any manufacturer to take control of its product data, maintain its compliance to standards and provide a seamless means to distribute that data to approved data receivers of the manufacturer’s choice in the most affordable way possible.
SMN: How will the cooperative benefit the various types of SEMA-member businesses, including manufacturers, warehouse distributors and jobber/retailers?
JW: The idea of a centralized repository for clean, rich product data has become more and more important as business technology advances, and it is the opinion of SEMA’s leadership that data to power business systems should be openly available, owned by the supplier (manufacturer) and be affordable for any SEMA business to participate in. That’s why our model includes SEMA funding of the complete construction of the repository and associated on-boarding and export capabilities.
The end result will be a one-stop source for standardized product data at a very affordable cost to the supplier, and it will be free to all approved receivers. This will allow all participants in the sales channel to have product data available for their internal business systems, web applications, inventory control and any other data-driven business needs at little or no cost.
SMN: Some businesses may be hesitant to use the cooperative at first. What should they understand about how their proprietary information will be safeguarded?
The end result will be a one-stop source
—Jon Wyly, CEO, SEMA Data Cooperative (SDC)
SMN: How will member companies begin to use the cooperative?
JW: The beta phase of the SDC will include 50 data suppliers and 20 data receivers who will collectively “test drive” the processes for about six months. While this phase is underway, we will begin to create a final design spec (actually already in the works), vetting the design through a task force and then beginning the coding of the production system. This will be a custom solution designed especially for the SEMA market, with additional capabilities to redistribute product data from replacement-parts providers as well. We strongly encourage all interested members to contact the SDC for information on how to join by visiting
www.SEMADataCoop.org or e-mailing me at jonw@SEMADataCoop.org.
SMN: Is there anything member companies can do to enhance their participation in the SDC?
JW: Get involved early! We have considerable capacity to help bring suppliers into the process, and a fully staffed help desk is on call now to assist in any way. Don’t wait because you think you don’t know enough about product data and how to gather or manage it. That’s what we are here for! The SDC is open to all suppliers and receivers, and our goal is to create the most comprehensive and affordable industry data repository possible.
JW: The possibilities are really endless. For instance, the SDC might include a web-based electronic lookup for use by wholesale sales rooms, retail counter people and others to get a one-stop view of product availability, timely announcement of new products and detailed product information such as installation instructions, multiple images, dimensions and even ratings and reviews.
The SDC will be listening carefully to member feedback regarding how we can collectively work together to make the most of this exciting project. This truly is a cooperative effort that will succeed based on the industry joining together to solve the data problem once and for all. I look forward to being a part of it!