Why Should We Care About Data Standardization?

In my last blog, I talked about how Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) created an Open Technical dictionary based on the federal catalog system. This technical ontology can be used to describe items that you make, or that you buy. The question now becomes—why do should we care.  What do I get out of data standardization?

Apparently the answer is—a lot.

Data standardization has been shown to:

Increase sales in online catalogs by preventing returns because inadequate description make searching for items difficult.
Lower the overall cost of customer service by reducing customer complaints and questions.
Prevent incorrect forecasts and even packaging and transportation costs. You have to know the accurate size and weight of an item to know how to ship it properly.
Greatly enhance spend analysis and support financial reporting requirements.
Reduction in speed to market for new items.

The Data Warehouse Institute states “Poor data quality is costing US businesses more than $600 billion annually.”

A variety of issues such as legacy systems, poor accountability, measurement inconsistencies, and human error can cause poor data management. Companies need to develop data management plans that establish data strategies for data governance based on completeness, consistency, conformity and duplication. These plans will identify and correct potential risk areas.

Often it is hard to convince upper management that data standardization should be a priority within a company. By matching the data quality plan to the business metrics and strategic goals of your company or industry, you can gain support to carry out this important internal business function.

If you would like to know more about the ECCMA eOTD and how it can help you with data standardization, check them out at www.eccma.org.

Government and Industry Work Together to Support Data Standardization

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.

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 […]