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Subject: RE: ebXML for the SME


My opinion is that Microsoft will no doubt succeed in its efforts to
standardize a whole host of business processes across multiple verticals AND
deploy solutions that enable and leverage that standardization.

Standards bodies can standardize these to some extent as proven by what
UN/EDIFACT and the ASC X12 standards have done with their standardized
messages. HOWEVER, the real challenge is not in just developing the
standardized messages within which are the implicit standardized processes,
BUT in also providing and deploying the technology solutions that exploit
them. Ever since I got involved in the EDI effort in the middle 1980's I've
said that the real need is to have these standards buried deep into the
solution and totally transparent to the user. By user I mean the business
user and not the IT developer. Forcing the users top deal with the standards
at any level is a major barrier. Consider how quickly the fax became
ubiquitious as soon as the underlying standards became totally transparent
to the average person and the devices truly became plug and play; ditto the
telephone. No one anywhere in the world today has a concern that when they
use the telephone or send a fax that the message will not be able to be
understood by the receiving device and conveyed to the human. They "just do
it." This is the final piece of the puzzle and one that the SDO's are not in
a position to provide. When the SME can buy a small business accounting
system off the shelf that can interoperate with the large business systems
is when we'll see rapid adoption. Microsoft is in a position to drive this
interoperability whether some like it or not.

Furthermore, again my opinion, if Microsoft felt it needed the likes of the
SDO's, like UN/CEFACT, ASC X12, or ebXML, then they would have been a major
player there strongly influencing the development of these bodies' work
products. They weren't and they aren't. Thus, the strong message from
Redmond to me is that MS feels that it can tap into the expertise it needs,
either internally or by external partnering, so that it doesn't need to be a
major player in these SDO's.

Whether this bodes ill or well for both the SDO's or Microsoft...only time
and the marketplace will tell. Stay tuned for the next installment of this
continuing series.....

Rachel Foerster
Rachel Foerster & Associates, Ltd.
Strategies for Electronic Commerce
39432 North Avenue
Beach Park, IL 60099
Phone: 847-872-8070
Fax: 847-872-6860

-----Original Message-----
From: Abid Farooqui [mailto:farooqui@tampabay.rr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 10:12 PM
To: rachelf@ix.netcom.com; Ebxml-Dev@Lists. Ebxml. Org
Subject: Re: ebXML for the SME

Microsoft like it or not is not a stupid company. Out of the many big
organizations I have worked with directly or indirectly, including IBM,
Microsoft has their act together the most and have a coherent strategy at
all times.
I think that if a standards body does not do something like what Microsoft
wants to do then you are going to see Microsoft close that market just like
Microsoft Office basically closed the pertinent market there.
In my humble opinion it is just common sense that you in a deterministic
machine like a computer you would like to standardize any process as much as
possible and this is specially true for business documents like a PO or a
functional acknowledgement. I have been beating this drum and have gotten
some criticism for it but no one yet has given me any argument against this
that is not solvable in a manner of days. Every particular/specific example
of a problem described to me on this list as an argument against such broad
standardization across verticals for business documents has an easy
solution. To me this problem of it being so EXTREMELY HARD/almost impossible
that it has to be left upto the vertical experts to decide is either a
copout for the fear of doing something not politically advised or closed
mindedness or being too close to the particular vertical to see the bigger
picture or just subject matter experts in each vertical trying to safeguard
their jobs or all or combination(s) of the above.
Companies like Microsoft have no such politics to deal with, nor do they
have people vested in these verticals. They can and eventually come up with
something that is simple enough to use and setup that if we don't do broad
business document standardization now, will make all of this history in a
few years time. Remember Micrososft people don't have a closed mind coming
into this. This is fairly new area for them so they thoughts are not
restricted by things like AeroSpace industry specifications can never be the
same as electronics vertical specification. We need to take the old hats off
of our brains here and see the reality that is taking shape in front of our
eyes. I have a great interest in ebxml working as a standard and growing in
acceptance across industry and I believe all others on this list do as well.
Am I completely off the mark and not in tune with this lists' feelings or I
just feel that way because of the few replies on the subject that I have
gotten. Because if I am really that far off the mark I need to stop wasting
my time with ebxml and its sub-groups and spend my energy else where as in
my opinion the way the things are ebxml will never work unless it takes up
the subject of cross vertical business document standardization and
standardize as many documents as possible and not leave this upto 'industry
experts' so to speak.
Abid Farooqui

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rachel Foerster" <rachelf@ix.netcom.com>
To: <ebxml-dev@lists.ebxml.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 12:32 PM
Subject: ebXML for the SME

> In the June 11th issue of Fortune managzine is an interesting article
> Microsoft: "The Beast Is Back." A few paragraphs (quoted below) seem to me
> to be quite pertinent to recent discussions on this list about simple
> standard processes and documents for the SME. I'm making reference to this
> article and Microsoft's stated direction without placing any value
> at all on MS. However, food for thought.
> The full article can be found at
> 1&_DARGS=%2Fartcol.jhtml.2_A&_DAV=artcol.jhtml
> "Perhaps the most far-reaching project in Raikes' group could be thought
> as the business equivalent of the human genome project. Norm Judah, a vice
> president who once managed Microsoft's computer infrastructure, leads a
> 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. Many of these activities already have been
> automated in piecemeal fashion by older data-processing systems at
> individual companies, but no one has ever tried to map out and standardize
> them all.
> "It turns out that a lot of these thousands of business processes coalesce
> around very similar documents and records," says Judah. He has created a
> square-foot "module map" to illustrate the flow of transactions and
> interactions. "The general ledger for one business isn't all that
> from another. SKUs and UPC numbers are standardized. Even a
> power-of-attorney document can be reduced to a standard form."
> The goal is twofold. Streamlining and standardizing electronic
> record-keeping and routine business activities would be a boon for
> large and small, and would make it easier for Microsoft to adapt OfficeXP
> be the front end for even more business processes. It also would open the
> way for other "business intelligence" programs and services to help track,
> as Gates puts it, "what really works and what doesn't."
> Though Judah's project is still a long way from completion, his boss,
> Vaskevitch, sees it as the linchpin in Microsoft's strategy to lead the
> transformation of IT. Says he: "When you really think about it,
> programs like Office fundamentally changed the way people write and
> communicate in documents. If we're successful at this, we'll fundamentally
> change the way people interact with the economy."
> Rachel Foerster
> Principal
> Rachel Foerster & Associates, Ltd.
> Strategies for Electronic Commerce
> 39432 North Avenue
> Beach Park, IL 60099
> Phone: 847-872-8070
> Fax: 847-872-6860
> http://www.rfa-edi.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
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