ebxml-awareness message

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Subject: Education plan

TO:  ebXML Marketing/Awareness/Education team

One of the deliverables we discussed in Brussels is a plan for ebXML 
education, and you will find a first draft of the plan attached.  You will 
see that the plan is heavy on objectives but light on delivery, which is 
intentional.  I would recommend that we concentrate first on what we want 
to accomplish rather than the methods, since we will probably make better 
decisions on the 'how' once we agree on the 'what'.

I will be on leave 19-28 July, but will catch up with your comments at the 
end of the month.  We can of course discuss it further in San Jose.  Best 

Alan Kotok
Director, Education and Information Resources
Data Interchange Standards Association
+1 703-518-4174

Title: Education plan for ebXML
Education Plan for ebXML.
Draft 1. 17 July 2000


I. Objectives
II. Desired skills and knowledge

A. Basic awareness
B. Detailed understanding
C. Business applications
D. Technical implementation
III. Education and training vehicles
IV. Testing and certification

I. Objectives

For the ebXML initiative to succeed, potential users and implements of the specifications will need to become aware of ebXML's features and skilled in applying ebXML to their companies and industries. The purpose of this plan is to define the skills and knowledge needed to help make ebXML a reality and to propose vehicles for building these abilities.

The plan describes four levels of knowledge of ebXML: basic awareness, detailed understanding, business application, and technical implementation. Each level serves as a prerequisite for the next level. It gives the skills and abilities, in tangible and demonstrable terms, that an education program needs to build, and identifies the audiences for that knowledge. The audiences listed are the same ones identified in the proposed marketing plan. The plan also discusses education and training vehicles to meet the objectives and proposes collaborating with certification programs to test for competency in these skills.

II. Desired skills and knowledge

A. Basic awareness

Executives and collaborative partners, for decisions on adoption of ebXML
IT architects and developers, as an introduction to more in-depth training

At the most basic level, business and technical people need to learn more about ebXML, what it is and what it is not. For this fundamental awareness of ebXML, audiences should be able to …

  • Describe in a few words the mission of ebXML, to provide an open XML-based infrastructure enabling the global use of electronic business information in an interoperable, secure and consistent manner by all parties.
  • Identify the basic features of the ebXML architecture: business process models, message structure, registry/repository, core components
  • List features NOT provided by ebXML: server platforms, software solutions, industry tag sets
  • Identify key attributes of ebXML: designed for businesses of all sizes, developed for implementation in shrink-wrapped off-the-shelf packages, takes advantage of previous e-business experiences, built with world-wide participation and support

B. Detailed understanding

Collaborative partners, to develop a partnership plan
IT architects and developers, to develop implementation strategy

Provide a detailed description of the ebXML mission and purpose, features of the ebXML architecture and aspects of the architecture, and compare the ebXML with other leading business frameworks using XML. With this level of knowledge, audiences should be able to …

  • Discuss in detail the purpose of ebXML
  • Summarize the conditions facing parties wishing to exchange business data over the Web that make ebXML necessary
  • List the overall business requirements of ebXML (see section 2.1 of ebXML requirements document)
  • Describe the overall architecture of ebXML – business process models, message structure, routing mechanism, common components, registry, repositories -- and discuss in high-level terms how the different parts of the architecture fit together
  • Discuss the relationship of ebXML to other leading business frameworks – BizTalk, RosettaNet, OAG, eCo – and show how ebXML differs from those frameworks

C. Business applications

IT architects and developers (including collaboration partners), to plan detailed implementations in their businesses or industries

At this level, participants will take the ebXML model and apply it to day-to-day operations in their companies or industries, and thus should be able to:

  • Discuss needs and conditions in the industry that require common e-business solutions such as ebXML.
  • Describe the overall business processes (e.g. supply chain, distribution patterns) in the particular industry and show how the ebXML architecture matches up to the industry process models.
  • Identify ebXML common components that apply to the industry, and data items that fall outside the core list
  • Develop sample ebXML messages, showing the header and body sections, routing information, and business data payloads.
  • Outline the workings of company or industry repositories, using the features of ebXML registries and repositories
  • Describe the relationship between the ebXML architecture and the company’s current e-business systems (EDI, Web site as appropriate), and outline the steps needed to make the transition to an ebXML-based system
  • List specific security threats and measures needed in the architecture to address those threats
  • List privacy requirements and measures needed to address those requirements
  • Apply appropriate internal metrics and industry benchmarks to help judge the value of ebXML to a company’s operations

D. Technical implementation

IT architects and developers (including collaboration partners), to build systems that implement the ebXML model.

At this level, audiences can take the detailed implementation plan described in level C and design systems that meet ebXML requirements, including:

  • Equipment additions or upgrades required
  • Interfaces between current business systems and ebXML messages
  • Communications networks
In addition, participants should be able to
  • Identify staff needed for training in the new systems
  • Describe new trading partner agreements
  • Outline any new business procedures needed to help ebXML-based systems become more effective
  • Prepare a plan for cutting over to the new ebXML-based system
III. Proposed education and training vehicles

The plan proposes learning experiences for meeting the objectives in each level. Please note that the plan does NOT address the issue of which parties should develop or deliver the content. The ebXML initiative will need to discuss the extent to which it wants to develop educational materials, license to content to others, or not get involved in the process at all.

A. Basic awareness. Participants should be able to develop the knowledge in these objectives from conference presentations and modules as part of other seminars on XML or e-business. A stand-alone downloadable white paper, perhaps combined with presentation slides, could work as well.
B. Detailed understanding. For these objectives trainers will need to develop a separate seminar, either in the traditional lecture/discussion format or as an interactive webcast tutorial. To discuss ebXML in detail, the learning outcome of this level, will probably require exercises referencing ebXML documents and presentations or essays by class participants.

C. Business applications. To meet these objectives, participants will require one or more intensive hands-on classes with an expert instructor, probably over multiple days. As part of these classes, participants will need to develop comprehensive and realistic case studies for a company or industry.

D. Technical implementation. For these objectives, systems analysts and designers will need an intensive class, or experiential (on-the-job) learning sessions as part of their work.

IV. Testing and certification

To ensure that participants in ebXML education develop the competencies outlined above, participants should demonstrate the knowledge and skills according to a predetermined set of criteria. In all likelihood, ebXML will not have the resources itself to design and develop testing and certification programs. Therefore, ebXML should consider requesting that other certification activities include this content in the body of knowledge covered by their tests.

Individual companies, such as IBM, have certification programs related to their products, but also to e-business in general. See http://www.ibm.com/education/certify/certs/eb_index.phtml . The EC Institute is an emerging non-vendor certification program for e-business professionals. See http://www.ecinstitute.org .

Full disclosure: DISA is a founder of the EC Institute and Alan Kotok serves as its acting executive director.

Submitted by:
Alan Kotok
Director, Education and Information Resources
Data Interchange Standards Association
+1 703-518-4174

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