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Subject: SMEs : was RE: Party XML Schema Defintions

>> Most SMEs have very trivial BPs. Most of them do not even 
>> have formal procedures but work on an ad-hoc basis. My 
>> point is that if we want to attract more than a few percent of  
>> the larger SMEs we have to be able to work using extremely 
>> simple, probably manually controlled, procedures that
>> do not need more than a few seconds to set up.  </Martin>

> I wonder what situations you are thinking of here.  
> SME <-> SME?  SME <-> larger company?  SME <-> Web 
> service?  Something else?   What kinds of documents and 
> processes?
> If SME <-> larger company, the larger company likely has 
> formal procedures that they want the SMEs to follow. * * *  
> ebXML with packaged procedures may allow SMEs to 
> participate in larger supply chains more effectively, as 
> opposed to being the "weak links".  </Bob>

This is a compelling case for me -- I know a few SMEs whose operations are
savaged by  being repeatedly "rationalized" by dominant supply chain
partners.   The SME's life would be much easier if the two or three
800-pound gorillas in its life were imposing transaction sets that shared
modelling assumptions and function calls (to its ERP system, or QuickBooks,
or whatever).

> If SME <-> SME, if it is worth doing ebXML collaborations,
> they may want at least request-response business 
> transactions, that is, a minimal BP which can be run manually 
> but will require some supporting software * * * 
> If they can't do request-response transactions, the customer
> will not know if their order was accepted unless they call 
> each other * * * I suppose they could just email ebXML * * * </Bob>

Can we rethink the SME-to-SME problem?   I think what you really have is an
SME-to-cloud-of-undifferentiated-opportunity problem.

There will always be commerce between people who just pick up the phone,
where the bother of automation (ebXML or otherwise) isn't worth it.  I
don't think we have to accommodate that case.  

However, transaction modularization (like ebXML) and open distributed
resource discovery (along the lines of UDDI) is going to create market
opportunities for SMEs.   Thanks to network effects, we will eventually
have a bunch of disembodied deals strolling through the woods, calling out
"Heidi!  Heidi!"   To find them, Heidi will need a subset of tools to play,
for the same reason you need a little French to get along in Provence.
What subset?

I'm not worried about Ma's Malt Shop using ebXML to sell gumballs retail to
Junior and Spike.  But I am concerned that Ma can get a user-friendly front
end that allows her to notice that the air force base down the street is
looking for a bulk purchase of gumballs, and reply.  


James Bryce Clark
Spolin Silverman & Cohen LLP 
310 586 2404    jbc@lawyer.com    

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