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Subject: Small business invoice and PO formats

Monday, Simon Nicholson of Sun gave a presentation of ebXML 
to the Seattle XML SIG.   A question was raised by Charlie Hoffman, 
one of the authors of the AICPA's XBRL schemas, whether ebXML will 
publish or recommend any standard XML format for the Invoice or 
Purchase Order.   The answer was negative --is that correct?  

Hoffman argued quite effectively that this failure may raise the
bar for small business, making the economics of ebXML similar to EDI.

I have always been baffled that ebXML will define such a variety of
choreographies and BPs with admirable features, spanning time and
multiple parties, etc. but not enable the lowly PO and Invoice. For
example,  http://lists.ebxml.org/archives/ebxml/200006/msg00065.html

What will be the absolute simplest, plain and easy way for small business
to interact with trading partners using ebXML?  

Please tell us *the simplest way* to begin understanding ebXML 
exchanges.   Will they in every case, require the full round
of dialogue with reg reps, composing and exchange of TPAs, etc? 

Small business is willing to do whatever they're told, by bigger
trading partners-- they are willing and able to implement XML 
interfaces.   But many of them cannot afford a whole new set of
XML applications and parsers infrastructure, the middleware server,
and presumably the Operating System upgrades that go along with it.

All these new software will be the opening rounds of a series of
upgrades which will screw up the rest of their software.

Many small businesses are fully capable of forming valid XML documents 
and implementing HTTP or SOAP interfaces.  SMBs are telling me they 
want to manually view and approve documents crossing their borders
before they post them anyway.  They haven't quite hoisted in yet, why
they need multi-step choreographies, dualities, etc.  I believe they 
will be quite receptive to an ebXML that they can try out cheaply and 
incrementally starting with a few POs and particularly, invoices 
which speed their collection cycle.

Basic ebXML exchanges must not require a whole new set of applications
 and OS upgrades from certain dominant US software vendors.  The 
ability to participate in basic ebXML with existing linux tools 
(e.g. Apache, java, python, perl, etc.) and a choice of simple, 
standard invoices and POs are  an important litmus test for main street.

Was the BASDA PO and Invoice not a great thing?  Wasn't OAGIS a great

Maybe SMBs need to go down the street and form a separate organization,
to choose a few hundred words of vocabulary and couple dozen document
formats from ebXML's core, to escape from the infinite permutations 
of the full ebXML design.  This would be a customer-side organization,

Todd Boyle CPA


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