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Subject: Business Process Components - SMEs want a two way flow of data

One of the biggest influences that has slowed down electronic commerce and
EDI over the years is the uni-directional data flow typically found in EDI
systems. That is, the expectation that Orders will flow in, and nothing much
will come back the other way.

Purchase Orders have been the main focus of the EDI endeavours, as EDI
itself was originally invented to solve a particular problem in the area.

However, for SMEs at the moment, need more. They want the flow of data to be
two ways.

They want to be able to receive Invoices/Delivery dockets and Statements
electronically and have them loaded automatically into their systems.

In most cases, they have to 'key' this information manually and it's a
hassle. Obviously with the prevalence of packaged accounting systems, there
is every likelyhood that 'monkeys' (programs to key Invoicees and Delivery
Dockets) will become more widespread.

Receipts/Invoices and Delivery dockets. They are the worst for small
business, and most big businesses are ambivilent about automating them, yet
they are so important.

Having said this, I acknowledge that there are some companies who offer
this, however, more work needs to be done to provide a 'two-way' flow of
data between organisations, now that the uni-directional flow has been in
operation between some organisations for over 15 years.

For success with ebXML for SMEs, a big push needs to be made on streamlining
the Invoice/Delivery Docket/Receipt flow in the same way that Purchase
Orders were the big push in EDI.

Take care

David Lyon

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