The CIECA Simplified Project 

06-30-2022 10:35 AM By Stacey Phillips

Reassessing How CIECA Publishes & Shares Standards Documentation 

to Help Meet Business Needs

By Paul Barry, CIECA's Executive Director


Since its founding in 1994, CIECA has partnered with companies from all segments of the collision industry to develop standards that facilitate electronic commerce and enable efficient automated processes. CIECA standards are used by hundreds of companies across the industry and millions of transactions are conducted each year utilizing technology based on CIECA standards.

 

In 2006, CIECA began the development of XML-based standards that became known as the BMS (Business Messaging Suite). Over time, the BMS grew to support every major workflow and process in the collision ecosystem. As the number of workflows and processes grew, so did the size and complexity of the BMS documentation. The BMS now consists of thousands of pages of content and hundreds of code lists. It is great information, but it can be challenging to work with, particularly for new CIECA members and smaller companies that don’t have significant IT resources.

 

In 2021, the CIECA Board of Trustees approved a plan to develop a new generation of JSON-based messages that will give member companies the option to choose between the XML-based BMS and the new JSON-based CAPIS (CIECA API Standards). Both standards will support all existing workflows, but it will allow developers to pick the best tool for the job.

 

Since the CAPIS will support all the same workflows as the BMS, we want to ensure that we don’t create greater complexity for our users as we will essentially double the amount of documentation. Many members have already expressed concern that the BMS can be intimidating to work with. Doubling the size of our documentation would likely make it more so.

 

CIECA Simplified Project

To address this concern, we have embarked on a plan to reassess how we publish and share standards documentation with an eye toward making it easier for developers to find the messages, codes and schemas necessary for their business needs and simplify the process of finding what they need quickly and easily.

CIECA content will be organized by ‘Service’ (i.e.: Assignment, Procurement, Estimate, etc.). Each service will have a home page that provides easy navigation to an ‘Implementation Guide’ that leads users through the process of developing CIECA-based APIs and web services. Content will be organized using industry standard terms to identify the Data Dictionary, Code Lists, Schemas, etc.

 

The CIECA Simplified initiative will take several months to implement as we tackle one service at a time to restructure CIECA content to be easier to access and use.

 

We encourage CIECA members to provide feedback on our efforts to make CIECA standards even better!