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Subject: RE: ebXML for the SME

Comments below.

>   From: "Rachel Foerster" <rachelf@ix.netcom.com>
   > "Perhaps the most far-reaching project in Raikes' group could be thought of
   > as the business equivalent of the human genome project. Norm Judah, a vice
   > president who once managed Microsoft's computer infrastructure, leads a team
   > that is trying to develop a schematic of every conceivable activity and
   > interaction that any business might require, both internally and with
   > customers and suppliers. 

   > Though Judah's project is still a long way from completion, his boss, David
   > Vaskevitch, sees it as the linchpin in Microsoft's strategy to lead the next
   > transformation of IT.

Dan Weinreb replied:
>It is ironic that Vaskevitch should be advocating a strategy of
>"developing a schematic of every conceivable activity and interaction
>that any business might require".  In Vaskevitch's book "Client/Server
>Strategies", he devotes extensive space to explaining why "building a
>complete data model that represents all information used by an entire
>large corporation is very hard, maybe even impossible" (see Chapter
>9).  If it's so hard to model data within a single company, how hard
>might it be to model "every conceivable activity and interaction"
>between not just mahy companies within an industry but even across all

Actually there is a well-founded minimal semantic model of
economic activities called REA for Resources, Events and Agents.
The model was originated by Professor William McCarthy of
Michigan State U, who has been an active participant in the
ebXML BP group, and parts of REA are embedded in the
UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology, recommended for ebXML.

By "minimal", I mean that REA does not even try to model 
all information or every possible interaction, but only those
which are essential across industries.  REA assumes that
each industry will require extensions and specializations,
but that there exists a core semantic model that is really
universal for economic activities.  I suspect REA is much 
simpler than MSFT's model - the overview diagram fits
easily on one page or screen.

McCarthy's REA publications are available at

Bob Haugen

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