1. What was the reason for the foundation of NICATS?

The first discussions took place almost two years before the registration. The members of NICATS are leading IT companies that deal with catalog and data processing systems as well as management systems in their daily business. At some point the idea arose to work together on topics that do not concern the respective core business, but are equally important for all companies: the existing data standards and their harmonization and interfaces in the IAM. NICATS deals with harmonizing existing standards as well as optimizing areas that have been little or not at all standardized so far.

Although the members are competitors, all have the same requirements. NICATS wants to create synergies for all market participants. It is important that really everyone in the value chain benefits from the results – from the data supplier to the data user in the repair shop or at the sales counter. The companies involved in the association immediately agreed on this issue.

2. Does NICATS have an economic interest?

No. NICATS does not have an economic interest. Its purpose is merely to identify technological challenges at an early stage and to work on them in a more structured and organized manner. The overall goal is always to achieve synergies for all market participants in order to facilitate daily processes. At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure that a spare part can be sold and that all process chains function properly.

Moreover, the companies and people behind NICATS all have a core business, i.e. the tasks in the association are performed by the acting persons in addition to their main tasks in their respective companies.

3. Does NICATS want to develop a new data standard?

Important standards have existed in the IAM for years and are more than established. The goal of NICATS is to harmonize existing standards and to further expand the existing cooperation. At the same time, however, there are many areas that have not yet been standardized or are still at the very beginning – for example, accessory supplies or the area of tyres and wheels. Another point is the suppliers of dealer management systems, with whom, there is insufficient communication today. NICATS would like to get closer to these companies and work out solutions together.

In addition, there ist the field of the OE data. There is much talk about the fact that, starting this year, car manufacturers will be obliged to open their doors when supplying the free market with data. How standardization will be made available there so that, at the end of the day, all market players profit from the synergies is a question that accompanies NICATS.

4. Does NICATS lobby?

No, NICATS as an association expressly does not want to become politically active. There are existing processes and structures for lobbying. NICATS wants to support the relevant organizations and associations with know-how. For example, if vehicle manufacturers now have to make the data of their spare parts available to the free market in a “machine-readable format” in the future. This is where NICATS wants to provide support. What is machine-readable? We look for suitable formats and modern technologies. A technological and professional basis is needed for discussions at the political level.

5. What exactly is the function of the supporters?

In order to pursue the goals of the association, NICATS will involve many companies in the discussion. You do not necessarily have to be a member of the association for this. NICATS has therefore defined the status of the supporter. This is not meant on a financial basis, but in terms of content. It is about companies that can contribute a certain part to the overall result. At the same time, we as NICATS guarantee the option of transparency of our work through the status of supporter.

6. Are further members of the association possible in the future?

Yes, in general it is possible. It does not have to remain with the previous nine members. The goal of NICATS is to create synergies for all market participants. Thus, there is the option to integrate further possible independent companies in the market into the project. However, these are issues that lie ahead of us in the future.

7. What projects are in the pipeline?

NICATS should be known in the market and acceptance must be created by the end of the year 2020. 

Furthermore, the current situation in the field of harmonizing standards must be assessed, the advantages and disadvantages discussed and possible solutions found with the partners.

A further project is the open, transparent communication of NICATS in the market, which is looking for cooperation. The focus here is on establishing a balanced exchange with all relevant stakeholders – and, of course, to quickly get into conversation with those who are open to NICATS‘ ideas.

8. What are the next steps?

First of all, it was important to found the association at this point of time, despite the current corona crisis, and to inform the market in May 2020.

We have received overwhelming, almost exclusively positive feedback on this. In the few weeks since the publication, we have made several phone calls and explained the goals of NICATS in web sessions.

In the meantime, we have already received several confirmations of NICATS’ support and applications for membership in the association.

We will collect all feedback, check it internally and then give a corresponding feedback. However, due to the great amount of responses, this will take some more time.