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Subject: Xtreme Ease-of-Implementation

One of the stated goals of ebXML is to enable smaller and less
technically sophisticated businesses to participate in electronic
business.  One of the hindrances to such participation in traditional
EDI is the long time and high cost of implementation, getting up
and running in the first place.

Here is an idea for nearly-instant implementation.  It makes 
use of my companion "Proposal for specifying business collaborations 
in business terms".

Here are two scenarios:
1. A larger and technically more-sophisticated customer wants to do business 
with smaller and less-sophisticated suppliers.  
2. Two smaller or less-sophisticated (or smarter) companies want to do
business together.

*First, the large-customer scenario:

The customer uses the ebXML Order-Fulfillment collaboration software 
to package up the collaboration protocol for the suppliers.  The package 
could take the form of a Web business service or a download or plug-in.  
(Actually, most of what the customer needs to do will be preconfigured
by the ebXML Common Process Catalog and my upcoming order-fulfillment 
patterns, so their job is pretty easy too.)

All the supplier needs to conduct electronic business with the customer is 
Internet access and either a browser for Web services or whatever kind of 
computer is required to run downloaded software. 

The collaboration protocol package contains the following commercial transactions:
. Order-acceptance, where the supplier receives orders from the customer and the 
  package contains preconfigured acceptance documents.
. Fulfillment-confirmation, where the package presents preconfigured shipping documents 
  and the supplier can just fill in the blanks and push the Send button. 
  (Think of it as an XML form in a self-addressed envelope.)
. Payment protocol transactions depending on the trading partner agreements, e.g.:
  . Pay on Invoice, the package configures Invoice documents for the supplier to 
    send to the customer.
  . Pay on receipt, the package receives and acknowledges Receiving Advice 
    documents from the customer.
  . Pay on consumption or production, the package receives and acknowledges 
    the relevant documents from the customer.
  . Prepayment, either directly or thru a 3rd party as in International orders.

The package should also contain terms and conditions and actions for all the
possible things that could go wrong.

The basic idea here is that the more-sophisticated customer packages up
both sides of the business process with its less-sophisticated suppliers
and all the suppliers need to do is fill in the blanks in some forms and
send them back.  The suppliers can extend the packages as much 
as they want, e.g. connect them to their internal systems, but the basic 
collaboration will still work correctly and new suppliers can get up
and running very quickly.

*For small customers dealing with small suppliers, the whole 
collaboration could be packaged up as a Common Business Process
and used as-is.

Comments?  Suggestions? Etc?

Bob Haugen

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