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Subject: RE: Brave new world

Margaret Pemberton wrote:
>As an EDI consultant, I have always found that the technology of sending and
>receiving message (whether they be UN/EDIFACT, X12, proprietary or even XML)
>has been the easy part - getting the business data suitable for both ends of
>the relationship has always taken the larger part of any implementation!! 

I agree. I think ebXML is just the start; the standardization needs
to go deeper, through internal systems, across whole supply chains.
(Or maybe more accurately, EDI was the start, ebXML is another
step, lots more to go.)

Here is what I think could happen (subject to the usual warnings
about cheap crystal balls):
1. ebXML or something like it will standardize message formats
    (I'll assume ebXML for this list).
2. Collaboration software at each end of the messages will get
    developed to handle ebXML message formats, using ebXML
3. Business application software vendors will offer ebXML-
    compatibility using such collaboration adapters. (You
    can already buy such adapters for trad EDI and OAG,
    although my limited experience with using them was
4. New Internet-capable business app software will be developed
    using ebXML-compatible business process models.

(I think Chris Hill's reply in this thread is saying something

Somewhere around steps 3 and 4 the back end application
system integration problem will get easier and then *almost* go away,
at least for companies that can afford to implement new
business application software.  Of course, that will exclude
lots of companies, and each step in the above list is lots
easier said than done.  And many experienced EDI
people tell me that real inter-operability will be achieved
by industry associations.

*Almost* means that semantic agreements are difficult,
and all interpretations are local, so company A could 
easily send a message to company B that follows all
the standardization rules and still contains information
that makes no sense in the context of company B.
For examples, read the current thread about units
of measure.

Bob Haugen

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