In 1999, the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) was founded as an international not for profit membership association with a mission to research, develop and promote better quality data for use in electronic commerce.

Soon after formation, ECCMA director Peter Benson discovered that the Department of Defense had been doing data standardization work to support military acquisition since the early 1960s. The government system, called the Federal Cataloging System (FCS), described items purchased by the federal government using Federal Identification Information Guides (FIIGs). These guides classified and described over 17 million items used by the US, NATO, and a series of friendly foreign governments. The Defense Logistics Agency Logistics Information Service in Battle Creek, MI manages the database and cataloging process. Benson convinced the government to collaborate with private industry to develop an international standard based on the work already started by the federal government.

Electronic Commerce Code Management Association

ECCMA went on to develop the ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD) to allow the creation and exchange of unambiguous, language independent master data. Data that identifies and describes individuals, organizations, locations, goods, services, processes, rules and regulations. The eOTD is based on the Federal Cataloging System and the NATO Codification System, the systems used to manage the world’s largest shared inventory developed by the Department of Defense and members of NATO and used today in over 50 countries.

Today ECCMA is the project leader for ISO 22745 (Open technical dictionaries and their application to master data) and ISO 8000 (Data quality). ECCMA is also the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited administrator of the US technical advisory group, the committee responsible for the development and maintenance of international standards for industrial data.

This decade old partnership proves that government and industry can work together to create new business practices which improve both government and industry best practices.