SEMA News—August 2012

BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

SEMA Data Co-op Beta Phase in Full Swing

 


Jon Wyly, SEMA Data Co-op CEO

 


For more information, contact Jon Wyly at jonw@SEMAdatacoop.org or visit www.SEMAdatacoop.org.

It’s been a long time coming, but the SEMA Data Cooperative (SDC) beta phase is up and running at full speed, with more than 80 specialty parts companies participating.

Starting life as a concept of the earliest SEMA business technology volunteers, the SDC represents the culmination of more than 10 years of effort and evolution into what is arguably the most complete and advanced product data repository ever to serve our industry. The fully operating beta phase represents a real-life “test drive” of the complete SDC production model, which will seamlessly transfer to the live production system late in 2012.

Designed to provide an end-to-end solution for SEMA suppliers, the process begins with the onboarding of product data into a validation system that ensures consistent alignment with SDC requirements for content and formatting. This initial data file can be submitted in most any form, from a simple Excel spreadsheet to fully standardized XML files. Any errors or issues that appear are worked through one on one with the fulltime SDC Help Desk until a “clean” data file is produced. These files, which are created in compliance with industry product information exchange standards (PIES) and AAIA catalog enhanced standards (ACES), are then moved to a secure repository for distribution to each supplier’s approved trading partners.

As a standard function of the SDC, participating suppliers retain complete control and ownership of their data, including who may or may not receive exports of their data. Deliveries will be made only to authorized receivers, completely controlled down to the SKU level.

Beta participants are already reporting outstanding results from the initial analysis provided by the Help Desk, and significant progress is being made in correcting a wide variety of data errors and omissions, most of which were previously unknown by the supplier. These data errors can cause costly problems in billing, shipping, inventory management and customer satisfaction.

 


 


 


 


Beta participants are already reporting outstanding results from the initial analysis provided by the Help Desk, and significant progress is being made in correcting a wide variety of data errors.

 


 


 


 


Data receivers are participating as well, beginning their process with a requirements study that the SDC Help Desk provides in order to understand exactly what data fields and formats receivers need in order to populate their systems. The beta phase includes a broad range of receiver participants, including warehouse distributors, jobber/retailers, program groups and Internet resellers of all sizes. Each will experience a careful matching of their needs to the data residing in the co-op and will receive clean, usable exports throughout the program.

Behind the scenes, the SDC is working diligently to refine the detailed design specification for the full production facility and by this writing should be well underway in coding this custom-designed system. The goal is to have available a working model of the production system at the 2012 SEMA Show and to go live with a phase one production system late in 2012.

The fact that the SEMA Data Co-op is becoming a reality is a bit of a dream come true for those of us who have worked on it over the years, and it is important to note that this valuable industry service would not be under construction today without the dedicated effort of a talented and stubborn group of volunteers. The SEMA Business Technology Committee, under the leadership of past SEMA Board of Directors member Bob Moore, has carried the torch for this project for several years, and many notable individuals have tirelessly dedicated their time and energy as well.

We look forward to serving the product data needs of the SEMA marketplace and welcome any comments or questions you may have.

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