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Subject: Fwd: Don't Believe The Hype: EDI And XML Are Just Perfect Together

TO:  MAE Team

Kerry Stackpole (our CEO) found this recent report from the GIGA Group that 
you may find of interest ... see below.

I will be giving a presentation on ebXML today in Baltimore to the B2B 
Committee of the National Association of Convenience Stores.  Thanks for 
the latest standard presentation, which helped considerably in putting the 
slides together.  Best regards.

Alan Kotok
Director, Education and Information Resources
Data Interchange Standards Association
+1 703-518-4174
** DISA's E-Business and Internet Conference, 7-9 March 2001, in San Francisco.
http://www.disa.org/conference/annual_conf/index.htm **

>Reply-To: <kstackpole@disa.org>
>From: "Kerry Stackpole" <kstackpole@disa.org>
>To: "Kerry C. Stackpole, CAE" <kstackpole@disa.org>, <lwilson@disa.org>,
>         <tcochran@disa.org>, <ymeding@disa.org>, <cshaw@disa.org>,
>         <gspadin@disa.org>, <jmcginnis@disa.org>, <akotok@disa.org>,
>         <egalant@disa.org>, <tlepovitz@disa.org>
>Subject: Don't Believe The Hype: EDI And XML Are Just Perfect Together
>Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 08:22:15 -0500
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook 8.5, Build 4.71.2173.0
>Importance: Normal
>Thought you might like to see this....Kerry
>January 15, 2001
>B2B Beat
>Don't Believe The Hype: EDI And XML Are Just Perfect Together
>There's a funny thing about the ongoing debate pitting EDI against XML: The
>technologies aren't in competition. In fact, they never will be.
>This is not the popular perception, of course. For the past two or three
>years, it has been fashionable to position these technologies against each
>other and predict that, ultimately, XML will prevail. Before buying into
>this rhetoric, however, it's important to consider the source. These
>black-and-white scenarios usually come from software vendors trying to
>create differentiation for their products based on their "leading edge"
>capabilities--in this case, XML capabilities.
>It's been a bogus issue from the start, and IT managers should pay no
>attention to it.
>Open EDI standards--ANSI X12 and UN/EDIFACT--provide the basis for
>unambiguous B2B data exchanges. XML makes possible a Web-based EDI
>alternative for small and midsize organizations that don't have the
>resources to implement earlier, less flexible EDI systems.
>It's a fallacy to claim XML will displace EDI--it's so hard to unseat an
>incumbent, even if the upstart has certain advantages. During the past 20
>years, EDI has been implemented widely and is highly integrated into core
>business processes. This level of integration required considerable effort.
>IT managers, many of whom had the job of installing and maintaining EDI
>systems, will be highly resistant to ripping them out in favor of an
>unproven technology, no matter how many bells and whistles it may have.
>Instead, what's likely to develop is a hybrid of EDI and XML. Enterprises
>are likely to implement EDI/XML translation software enabling conversion of
>any X12 or EDIFACT EDI document into the XML-based dialects that are
>currently in use. These include xCBL, cXML, ebXML, BizTalk and RosettaNet
>Today, this translation is achieved primarily through stand-alone software
>products. However, this process will become less cumbersome as EDI vendors
>incorporate XML translation functions. This will be a natural extension of
>the existing translation capability to change data from proprietary to
>standard X12 or EDIFACT formats.
>This increased functionality will allow organizations to achieve the best of
>both worlds. They will continue benefiting from their investments in
>integrated EDI systems while reaching small to midsize enterprises and
>marketplaces with XML.
>For example, consider the recent activity in the ebXML and BizTalk camps.
>The ebXML effort is being lead by The United Nations Centre for Trade
>Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and the Organization for
>the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. OASIS is sponsored in
>part by IBM, Netfish Technologies, Sabre and Sun Microsystems. BizTalk is a
>Microsoft initiative.
>Both of these efforts have included full support for legacy EDI systems
>through the use of EDI/XML translation software, thereby giving
>organizations with existing EDI systems a clear path for implementing
>either, or both, of these new standards while continuing to leverage their
>legacy investments. This is a win-win situation for all parties.
>EDI systems must continue to evolve, even assuming the addition of XML
>capabilities. They cannot provide the level of B2B integration today's
>organizations require. For example, process transactions that involve
>multiple, related, intercompany data exchanges would not be well served in
>an EDI environment.
>These requirements will be fulfilled by an emerging category called business
>process integration. BPI will work side by side with the XML-enhanced EDI
>systems, providing a blend of old and new technology that will result in
>comprehensive integration capability.
>In today's fast-paced B2B world, IT organizations have a full plate of
>technology issues to deal with. A debate between EDI and XML is not one of
>Ken Vollmer is research director of B2B integration at Giga Information
>Group. He can be reached at kvollmer@gigaweb.com.

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