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ebxml-awareness message

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Subject: ebXML: Hurwitz analysis

From the Hurwitz Group http://www.hurwitz.com/:
ebXML Initiative Steams Ahead

By: Kathy Quirk, Analyst -- Reply to: BV-AS@hurwitz.com

On December 12, the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (CEFACT) and OASIS announced that they would deliver the core technical infrastructure of the Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML) two months ahead of schedule. At a proof of concept demonstration, which included vendors such as Cisco, Fujitsu, IBM, Interwoven, Sterling Commerce, Sun, and XML Solutions, the ebXML specifications for transport, routing and packaging, trading partner agreements, and the components for registry/repository were used to demonstrate business transactions.

The intent of ebXML is to provide a common infrastructure that enables XML to be used in a consistent manner to exchange electronic business data over the Web. From the horizontal ebXML framework, the ebXML Initiative wants domain experts to be able to tap in and add their industry-specific expertise on top of the infrastructure. To that end, CEFACT and OASIS have put a strong emphasis on attracting vendor support and domain expert support, so that ebXML is not beholden to a single industry, application, or business function.

THE HURWITZ TAKE: At the ebXML demo, an ebXML spokesman stated that the technical infrastructure of the proposed ebXML Initiative was stable and ready for evaluation and early adoption. Getting the technology into the hands of the grassroots developers will be key to the success of ebXML. In theory, ebXML seeks to avoid incompatibility across industry domains and segregated pockets of industry-specific implementations, which could impede a true global standard. Also, ebXML attempts to breach vertical XML standards by incorporating low level practices that other standards can use. Hurwitz Group has found that in the real world, permutations in how standards are actually implemented usually occur. Witness the variations and tweaking that have taken place with electronic data interchange (EDI).  

Working in favor of the new ebXML standard is CEFACT's experience in pushing worldwide standards, which should help this standard gain acceptance among a wide array of industries. CEFACT defined the EDI standard, and it has been able to draw on its technology experience and its standing in the EDI community to help bring the ebXML standard forward. The fact that CEFACT and OASIS anticipate this new standard to be delivered two months ahead of schedule speaks well of the ebXML Initiative's ability to navigate the tricky waters of industry consensus. The next test will be adoption. ebXML has everyone talking, but other standards are out there. Eliminating customer confusion about which standard to use or how standards can or cannot interoperate should be high on the Initiative's list. Vendors that support ebXML would be wise to both educate and evangelize. 

Carol Geyer
Director of Communications
Tel: +1.941.926.2322
Fax: +1.941.328.0121 x3791

OASIS           http://www.oasis-open.org
XML.ORG         http://xml.org
XML Cover Pages http://www.oasis-open.org/cover/
ebXML           http://www.ebXML.org
CGM Open        http://www.cgmopen.org

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