FAQ’s 2017-06-29T10:29:54+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

ECCMA is an association focused on delivering a clear scope of its goals and benefits and have done its best to provide members, and non-members, with tools and assitance in its areas of expertise. Below is information to help individuals and organizations understand ECCMA’s overall purpose.

ECCMA is a not-for-profit International Association of Master Data Quality Managers set up in 1999, to develop and maintain open solutions for Faster – Better – Cheaper access to authoritative master data. ECCMA is the original developer of the UNSPSC, the project leader for ISO 22745 (open technical dictionaries and their application to the exchange of characteristic data) and ISO 8000 (information and data quality), as well as, the administrator of US TAG to ISO TC 184 (Automation systems and integration), TC 184/SC 4 (Industrial data) and TC 184/SC 5 (Interoperability, integration, and architectures for enterprise systems and automation applications) and the international secretariat for ISO TC 184/SC 5.

Companies and individuals join ECCMA to have access to information and technical support that can help them measure and improve the quality of their master data. While the ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD) is a public resource with unrestricted access, membership is required to access the shared ECCMA Data Requirements Registry (eDRR) and the ECCMA Corporate Dictionary Manager (eCDM). The eDRR contains the class-property relationships (templates) used in cataloging. It is also used to measure data quality under ISO 8000. Members also have access to technical support provided by a team of experts in master data quality, as well as, a wide range of discounts on events, trainings and certifications.

ECCMA offers three levels of membership:

  1. Associate Membership ($500 per year): offers basic support in cataloging or the creation and implementation of a corporate business language based on the eOTD.
  2. Full Membership ($5,000 per year): provides a higher level of support for larger cataloging projects or companies that are looking to create or maintain a multilingual ontology. Additional features in the eCDM are also available.
  3. Charter Membership ($50,000 per year): this level of membership is designed for companies that want to integrate the ECCMA registries into their applications or services. This membership includes implementation and integration support. Through their integration with the ECCMA registries, Charter members can add concepts and terminology directly to the eOTD, as well as, register data requirements and obtain organization identifiers from the ECCMA organization registry in real time.

To view the complete list of benefits, click here.

The ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD) is an open public registry of terminology from international and national standards, as well as, from industry associations. It resembles any other dictionary with the addition of public domain concept and terminology identifiers.

The eOTD also provides a public registry of localizations. They are not literal translations of a term or a definition, but rather the terms and definitions used to describe the concept in a language as spoken in a specific region. For example, French as spoken in France, or French as spoken in Canada.

Finally, the eOTD provides a public registry of concept mappings. This is very important because it allows different groups to maintain their own terminology while mapping to the terminology used by other groups. For example, mapping between the concept of, “interior diameter” and “bore.” Both terms are used in different industries, but mean the same thing. The eOTD links the two concepts with the permission of the controllers of the two entries in the eOTD. This process is called a public mapping. In practice, eOTD identifiers are used to encode data turning it into unambiguous, language independent, portable data. To decode the identifiers you simply use the eOTD and look up the terminology associated with the identifier.

The eOTD also conforms to ISO 22745, the international standard that defines the structure and administration of an open technical dictionary. The eOTD is available free to the general public through a web services interface. There is not a license required to use the eOTD. The eOTD concept identifiers are in the public domain, they may be used or distributed without license and can be safely embedded in data without the risk of creating a joint copyright.

The eOTD is an open public registry, but it is a very large file that contains over 2.9 million concepts. Because of it’s size it is not practical to manage as a spreadsheet or with most databases. The best way to access the eOTD is through a searcher that utilizes web services or to implement the ECCMA published web services interface.

Members of ECCMA are provided with a username and password. This provides them access to the Member Login Area. This is where members can find details on how to obtain downloads they may need.

If you are unable to find a suitable concept amongst the 2.9 million concepts that are currently in the eOTD and you are a current Member of ECCMA, we will be happy to assist you in finding one or you may request that one is added. If you are not a member and cannot find a concept that best suites your needs, we suggest joining ECCMA so we can better assist you.

Typically, ECCMA researches existing concept definitions published in one of the many international or national standards or by an industry association. Once found it is added to the eOTD, or as an alternate process, ECCMA will develop a new concept. Guidelines for developing concept terms and definitions can be found in ISO 22745-11.

ECCMA is the manager of the eOTD, an open technical dictionary, that bears its name. ECCMA controls the assignment of the public domain, 0161 identifiers used in the eOTD, however, the eOTD can be freely distributed and may be available from many sites. The eOTD will always be available to the public, but there is no guarantee that any one specific format will be supported. It is the decision of ECCMA members to select the best format for the distribution of the eOTD.

The ECCMA Corporate Dictionary Manager (eCDM) is an on-line dictionary linked to the eOTD, and is a benefit exclusively to ECCMA members. eCDM users create a dictionary as subsets of the eOTD. This process is simple and fast; it consists of searching for concepts in the eOTD and marking them as “used” in the corporate dictionary. If the user cannot find a concept in the eOTD, they request that a new concept be added.

The eCDM allows you to select many concepts in the dictionary and declare them to be equivalent concepts. This function allows companies to deepen the terminology associated with a single concept and therefore creating synonyms.

The eCDM assists companies in the creation and maintenance of a multilingual corporate dictionary that all colleagues can see and use. This avoids confusion in labeling data; the first step in data quality. The eCDM also allows companies to create a registry of spreadsheet templates. This feature allows everyone within the company to register spreadsheets and map the column headings to the eOTD, permitting shared data across spreadsheets.

The eCDM is an ECCMA open source project. Members of ECCMA are encouraged to participate in the development of the code to best suit their needs. For more information on eCDM, please click here.

The ECCMA Data Requirements Registry (eDRR), formerly known as eIGR (ECCMA Identification Guide Registry), is a shared resource built by ECCMA members to assist other members in their data cleaning and data management projects. The eDRR is a library of requirements where ECCMA members can register their data requirements, research existing data requirement to use as a base for creating a new requirement or indicate that they are a user of a registered data requirement in order to be notified if the data requirement is marked as deprecated (nothing is ever deleted from an ECCMA registry).

Data Requirements are used to define the required characteristic needed to describe a class of items. Typically, data requirements are known as cataloging templates or identification guides, but in reality a data entry form can be expressed in eOTD-i-xml (ISO 22745-30) and registered in the eDRR.

Meeting requirements for data is one of the fundamental clauses of ISO 8000 data quality. Without a data requirement against which you can test data, you cannot determine the quality of the data. Data Requirements are also the starting point of Cataloging at Source (C@S).

Yes, data requirements (also known as, identification guides or cataloging templates) are specific to an organization and are designed for a specific purpose. ECCMA encourages the registration of data requirements in the eDRR for three purposes:

  1. ECCMA members can share data requirements as templates to build their own.
  2. ECCMA can use the eDRR to rank the use of concepts in the eOTD. This helps other ECCMA members identify the most commonly used concepts and encourages harmonization.
  3. The eDRR is an essential part of Cataloging at Source. This is a process where a data requestor (buyer) can send a request for data to a data provider (supplier).

The ECCMA Global Organization Registry (eGOR) is a standardized vendor master designed to assign globally unique public domain organization identifiers. eGOR is a shared resource to assist ECCMA members in their vendor data cleaning and data management projects.

For more information on eGOR, click here.

ISO 8000 is the international standards for data quality. The purpose of ISO 8000 is to make it easier to tell the difference between those companies and software applications that can deliver ISO 8000 quality data and those that cannot. The strength and power in ISO 8000 lies in the opinion of what is, and what is not, quality data. This standard is based on international agreement; industry experts from around the world have agreed that there are characteristics of data that can be used to define and measure its quality. All these aspects are described in ISO 8000.

For more information on ISO 8000, please click here.

  1. To be able to ask for quality data and test it.
  2. Authority on how to use ISO 8000 to measure and solve data quality issues.
  3. Assist customers looking for certified ISO 8000 managers in their data cleansing projects.
  4. Competitive edge – stick out from all the rest.
  5. Meet the demand for those require ISO 8000 data.

Data and information quality are now widely recognized problems in companies large and small, ranging from manufacturing and processing, to finance and health care. Incomplete or duplicate records, poor quality descriptions and inaccurate information cause inefficient allocation and use of resources. This can add up to a 20% increase to direct and indirect costs. Poor quality data is a barrier to effective marketing and the leading cause of transparency issues that drive up the cost of regulatory compliance.

For more information on ISO 8000 Master Data Quality Certification, click here.

Identification – refers to assigning a reference number that can be used to identify an item or a group of items. There are two common levels of identification. The first level identifies a unique item, such as a serial number. The second level identifies a group of items such as a part or batch number. For more information, download a copy of ECCMA’s White Paper, “Supply Chain Management by the Numbers”.

Description – labeling an item in order for it to be distinguished from, or grouped with, others through its form or function. Descriptions can be free form or structured. The quality of a description is measured by the degree to which it fulfills its function. Structured descriptions are derived from property value pairs that describe the characteristics of an item (individual, organization, location, or service). The key to a good description is ensuring that the concepts used in a description (properties, units of measure, enumerated values) are explicitly labeled; this is a requirement of ISO 8000 quality data.

Classification – a hierarchy used to group items that share similar characteristics. A classification typically has many levels. A company’s chart of accounts is a form of classification. By their very nature, classifications are orders that serve a specific purpose and cannot use a classification designed for one purpose to serve another. Classifications may also cover specific domains and exclude others.

The Content Standards Councils (CSC) are responsible for registering industry identification guides in the eDRR. They are permitted to add terminology to the eOTD and request concept links. CSCs are also responsible for developing and maintaining eCLR.

ECCMA members can add terminology to the eOTD through participation in a Content standardization council. The councils are also responsible for developing typical data requirements and classifications. Any ECCMA member may request to add a council and become a chair.

Below are the list of Content Standards Councils (CSC):

  • Aerospace Systems Design Content Standardization Council (SSD-CSC)
  • Automotive Industry Content Standards Council (AICSC)
  • Defense Industry Content Standards Council (DICSC)
  • Finance, Banking and Insurance Industry Content Standards Council (FBICSC)
  • Healthcare Industry Content Standards Council (HICSC)
  • Natural Resources Industry Content Council (NRICSC)
  • Oil and Gas Industry Content Standards Council (OGICSC)
  • Services Industry Content Standards Council (SICSC)
  • ECCMA Property Team (ePROP)

The UNSPSC was designed as a standard procurement classification. It is very similar to a chart of accounts that is used to group similar items together for analyzing expenditure. The original goal of the UNSPSC was to allow buyers to provide their suppliers with a standardized commodity code that they could add to the line items on their invoices so that when a buyer received the invoice it would be easy to analyze. Initially this worked very well, because suppliers liked having a single, simple “standard” commodity code they could use for all their customers. Technology has largely made the UNSPSC obsolete as both buyers and their suppliers have become more sophisticated. Suppliers have realized that better visibility comes from better descriptions and buyers have realized that in order to manage their supply chain they need better descriptions of what they are buying. Classifications like the UNSPSC, UNCCS, NCS or CPV still serve an important purpose for spend analysis, but typically they are assigned automatically by the buyer and they ask their suppliers for better quality, and preferably standardized, descriptions.

ECCMA is the U.S. technical advisory group (U.S. TAG) administrator for two of the four sub-committees of TC 184. In this role, ECCMA is responsible for insuring U.S. interests are included on any standards developed and balloted in these pertinent subject areas. ECCMA is also the Secretariat of ISO TC 184/SC 5, Interoperability, integration, and architectures for enterprise systems and automation applications.

TC 184 is the primary technical committee where international standards come together for manufacturing systems. With the renewed interest in manufacturing, including smart manufacturing initiatives, this technical committee, and its subcommittees, are clearly poised to play a central role in efforts to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Standards developed and published in TC 184 and its sub-committees have far reaching impact, both globally and technically.

For more information on TC 184, please read an article by Dan Carnahan, Chair, U.S. TAG’s to TC 184 and ISO TC 184/SC 5, in February 2013’s edition of the ECCMA newsletter.

For more information on joining the U.S. TAG’s please, click here.

ISO 22745, the standard for open technical dictionaries and their application to cataloging. The goal of ISO 22745 is to create a framework that allows two parties to exchange master data (vendor, material, service, Human Resources, etc.) without the risk of misunderstanding each other. It is important that the information be capable of being used in any computer application (neutral exchange), easily translated and it must stand the test of time (long term data retention).

ISO 22745 explains the theory of how the pieces fit together and includes the specification of the XML schemas that are the practical format used to exchange data requirements and catalog data. ISO 22745 also includes the specification of how concept identifiers can be found and resolved using standard on-line services.

ISO 8000 is the international standard for data quality, its primary purpose is to be used in specifying the quality of data that is exchanged between two parties. If you are contracting for data or data services, you should include a provision that the data delivered under the contract is ISO 8000 compliant. Actually, we recommend ISO 8000-120 compliant as this requires that the source of the data (its provenance) be provided as well. If you are providing data to third parties then you may be asked to provide ISO 8000 compliant data. Finally, your senior management may want to know that the information they are receiving is being generated from ISO 8000 quality data. On a purely practical level, maintaining ISO 8000 quality data is your assurance that the data is portable and meets requirements.

To be ISO 8000 compliant, you will need a corporate dictionary and a data requirements registry. To validate ISO 8000 compliance you validate that the metadata, classifications or code values contained in your data are explained in the dictionary and then you validate that your data meets your specified data requirements. The data requirements define the data elements and their format, in cataloging these are your cataloging templates but reports are also data requirements.

A master data quality manager certified under ISO 8000 has demonstrated that they understand the fundamental principles of the standard and that they know how to use data requirements and the dictionaries that support them to validate the quality of master data.