1st PromoStandards Hack-A-Thon, Sponsored by Essent, Tackles Industry Challenges

PromoStandards Technology Summit and Hack-A-Thon logo
"The Hack-A-Thon is another productive and fun opportunity for the community to collaborate on making the industry stronger, and we're thrilled to make it happen."
--Eric Alessi
Essent President & CEO
PromoStandards Chair

The competition portion of the inaugural PromoStandards Hack-A-Thon is complete as seven teams quickly leveraged PromoStandards data to create technology solutions for promotional products industry challenges.

The Hack-A-Thon featured cross-functional teams using PromoStandards protocols to access trading partner data and services. The goal was to develop solutions for real-world challenges faced in the promo industry.

Essent served as Ultimate Sponsor for the event, which was held remotely Sept. 19-26, 2022.

"PromoStandards and Essent, along with the PromoStandards community, have a shared vision to remove friction from the supply chain through tight trading partner systems integration," said Eric Alessi, President & CEO of Essent Corporation and Chair of PromoStandards. "The Hack-A-Thon is another productive and fun opportunity for the community to collaborate on making the industry stronger, and we're thrilled to make it happen."

The entries included solutions from web-based product research to contract price validation to maintenance-free product pricing and configuration. Winners are to be announced at the PromoStandards Technology Summit in early 2023.

More than 50 participants representing 33 companies formed the seven teams. Judges included PCNA Vice Chairman David Nicholson, Proforma CEO Vera Muzzillo, Kate Alavez of PromoShop Inc., and Wade Williams of OrderMyGear.

"It's very exciting and refreshing to see as an industry we are coming together to solve problems," Ms. Muzzillo said. "Kudos to PromoStandards, team leaders, and participants."

Ms. Alavez added, "It has been incredible having all these cross-functional teams bring innovation to the forefront of industry discussions."

The Technology Summit had been planned for the first week of October in Tampa, Fla., but was postponed due to Hurricane Ian. PromoStandards members are now planning an expanded Tech Summit in early 2023.

2022 PromoStandards Hack-A-Thon Projects

More than 50 participants representing 33 companies leveraged PromoStandards data to rapidly build solutions for promo industry challenges. Among the projects:

Contract Price Validator

Description: Often, when you have negotiated pricing as a distributor or buying group, you do not see those values come through in the PromoStandards without some back and forth with the supplier. Let’s build a tool that takes in PPC and Product Data and compares it to values stored for a negotiated rate. Those that look great update your ERP, those that don’t show on the exception report for review.

Team Leader: Steven Stanley of ePromos

Watch Project Pitch

Product Research Tool

Description: Create a product research tool powered by PromoStandards that can be leveraged by Suppliers, Distributors, and Service Providers. The solution consists of 4 areas: PromoStandards data cache, back-end services, middleware, and website. The cache/data store will hold PromoStandards Product Data, Media content, and PPC data. The data store will likely be a document database/NoSQL (Redis, MongoDB) or relational database (SQL Server). Back-end services will populate the keep the cache current. Middleware will handle the communication and queries between the website to the data store. The website enables product research, shows query results, and display detailed product information. Real-time inventory can be added if time permits.

Team Leader: Steve Luisser of Essent

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Auto Complete AI Model

Description: The project we want to achieve is by taking all product marketing points using Promostandards Product Data V2; we want to be able to make a autocomplete AI model that can be used as needed. Some useful applications can be chatbot/email plugins.

Team Leader: Rishiraj Mukherjee of Hit Promotional Products

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Supplier Caching Proxy for PPC

Description: Maintenance-Free Supplier-Hosted Product Pricing and Configuration (PPC) Caching Proxy: This is an application that acts as an intermediary between PPC callers and supplier PPC endpoints, providing improved speed, data quality, robustness, and analytics for PPC data requests.
Team Leader: Robert Cathro-Oliver of commonsku

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REST Architecture

Description: We need to modernize our Promo Standards service definitions by moving from Soap-based XML to REST architecture. Removing the constraints of static XSD will allow us react to new processes and challenges in the industry, adding elements and functionality regularly without breaking existing services. Web service standards have been moving this direction for some time, and we are behind on adopting new technology that better supports our business systems. Understanding the need to enforce standardization across the industry while being agile, PromoStandards will provide a swagger file for the service and there could be a shared validation endpoint to ensure that members’ services conform to the basic requirements.
Team Leader: Erica Griffitt
Watch the Project Pitch