get down to it, I think that there are a couple of real good reasons that the
industry is failing to unite behind ebXML:
technology is new and unproven. It doesn't matter how good it is, because
nobody has really done it successfully yet. That is enough to scare away any
MBA on the planet. Until somebody takes the initiative and makes it work the
industry won't want to unite behind it. Unfortunately, since the standards are
about interoperability, one person taking the initiative isn't enough. That
person has to interoperate with someone else. And that someone else is hard to
find before the technology is proven. This is what we call a "Catch
22". We're going to have to find a way around it, but it will take time.
standard is big. Very big. That means there is additional risk to taking it on,
because you've got to do a lot of work up front to adopt it. The developers
(You guys) envision that implementers will build software that makes it easier
for the less technical (Or rich) companies to adopt it, but until that happens
it narrows the potential candidates even further.
then don't the big companies build implementations that they can sell?
I think the reason is much simpler after Infrastructure software and Solution
vendors alike have tried to kill their customers in the period of 1995-2001
selling hot air (un-implementable solutions, infrastructure that you buy but
you really have to build it yourself…), they are now on a path to kill
themselves by increasing the cycle of “revolutions” that you ought
to have within your IT department. They are loosing the customers and the
developers in the process. The open source community is reacting to that
by providing no-nonsense work that people can use and modify at ease. I predict
that within 10 years, 90% of IT will be open source. Smart people will make
money (See Compiere.org), they just won’t juice out from an IPO.
Now when it
comes to web services versus ebXML, the phenomenon got started by Microsoft,
not that MS opposed WS and ebXML. At the time MS had the Biztalk framework to
compete with ebXML (they might still have actually though we don’t here
about it). Microsoft started .NET as a new application model. This makes a lot
of sense ! with the ubiquity of the Internet application can and should take
advantage of it. Many (business) applications should be able to leverage the
web to get information (or expose their information) such as real-time data,
computing power, … This is not really B2B this is just leveraging the
fact that you are now permanently connected to the internet therefore you can
do this kind of stuff. So yes, this is a form of enterprise application
integration, but this has nothing to do with EAI, this is a new paradigm. This
is Vision, let’s give it back to MS. (Incidentally, I think that MS had
great visions –except for BizTalk Server- in the past decade just poor
strategy and execution).
other guys (IBM, SUN, BEA, …) had to react to that and would not leave an
inch to MS. Then came a smart guy, I hope he dares identifying himself, and
said, wait a minute, I can send a PO to a web service, therefore I can do B2B !
Unfortunately the strategy and marketing folks at BEA, IBM and SUN could see further
and said “wait a minute we have this ebXML and WS thing, they are one and
the same”. The CFO got in the middle and said that I can’t fund two
initiatives, you guys have to choose. Because they had to compete with MS, they
had to choose WS.
conclusion I think that today, IBM, SUN, BEA are not offering real
implementation of ebXML because they perceive they can make more money with WS
(I think it is foolish but, that’s only me). To this is great for
companies like XML Global or CycloneCommerce, ebXML is now a Start-up play,
like many innovative technologies:let’s the small guys take the risks,
and we will buy the best. Incidentally, IBM developed its own EAI framework
with very smart people, just to end up buying CrossWorld, an outstanding EAI
infrastructure provider ! I bet you that in two years XML global will be
bought for a lot of money by one of the big guys (MS, IBM, SUN or BEA). I wish
I could own shares of this company today !