ebXML: What's Your Strategy?
ebXML, initiated in fall 1999, began as an effort by United Nations CEFACT (Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business) and OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.) It sought to enable the exchange of electronic business data on a global scale using XML (extensible markup language). XML was created so that structured documents could be sent over the Internet.
With the launching of ebXML, instantaneous information flow and highly automated business processes provide new data exchange technologies and techniques. Use of a common technical framework would be instrumental in accessing businesses of all sizes, anywhere in the world.
The initiative's reference architecture includes five key components that work in tandem so users can determine how they want to participate:
- Registry and Repository
- Collaboration Protocol Profile
- Business Process
- Core Components
The ebXML messaging specification has uniquely achieved cross industry endorsement with key organizations providing support, the most notably UCCnet, an Internet-based electronic commerce service.
Getting Started with ebXML
How your company gets started with ebXML depends on where you are with electronic business communication. If you are currently engaging in electronic business, the answer to "how" will depend on your trading partners and their industry. If you are new to doing business electronically, ebXML will enable you to cost effectively enter the market, cut operating costs, strengthen relationships with trading partners and open up new opportunities.
Motivation To Adopt ebXML
One of the most compelling reasons for adopting ebXML today is influence by a larger or key business partner seeking to drive use within its sphere of influence.
The logical step, as companies seek to become involved with ebXML, is to move forward with the TRP (transport, routing and packaging) or messaging component.
Full-scale ebXML implementation will not be available for a couple of years. Even when it is, industry analysts conclude EDI will not disappear. EDI and various flavors of XML along with ebXML will coexist in the foreseeable future.
ebXML includes specifications for public repositories of industry business processes, messages, and common data objects. Companies need to get started exchanging data, as well as register their capabilities to engage in electronic business. Companies can use these registries to access the stored data objects and find new suppliers or customers with the ability to provide electronic messages or services.
For companies that are ready to move forward with ebXML, the key to a successful transition lies in keeping company business objectives at the forefront to drive decisions.
If you are considering ebXML, don't look just for a vendor that can handle ebXML or an ebXML application. Rather you should look for a solution that supports many different Internet transports to accommodate communications with all business partners and migrate with them as needed.
To Learn More
View IPNet's detailed white paper, ebXML: What's Your Strategy.