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Subject: [ebxml-dev] Open invitation to join European ebXML interoperabilitypilot

Dear ebXML-Dev subscribers,

Please find attached the following message sent on behalf of John Ketchell (Director, CEN
ISSS), and Patrick Gannon (CEO, OASIS).

Kind regards,

Pim van der Eijk


Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the ebXML initiative was a joint project of UN/CEFACT and OASIS to produce a
framework of technical standards for a global electronic marketplace where enterprises of
any size and in any geographical location can meet and conduct business with each other
through the exchange of XML based messages. The first phase of this initiative finished on
schedule in May 2001 with ebXML project teams delivering a substantial set of technical
specifications, representing the collective efforts of thousands of participants
collaborating in an open process.  

Since then, much progress has been made in advancing the ebXML vision of a global
electronic marketplace. The ebXML framework has been endorsed by many of the leading
horizontal and vertical industry organizations, which represent some of the largest
business communities globally. Technical Committees within UN/CEFACT and OASIS, both of
which have active participants in Europe, have continued to maintain and further develop
the technical specifications. Vendors increasingly provide support for ebXML in software
products, and are now starting to deploy these products in customer projects, including
some production systems. Some of these are in non-traditional e-business areas like
healthcare and e-government. 

Nevertheless, there are still many obstacles to ebXML adoption. These need to be addressed
by a concerted pre-competitive effort of standards developers and organizations, vendors,
industry and governmental organizations. There is a particular need to increase marketing,
education and awareness activities, to demonstrate interoperability among vendors'
implementations of ebXML specifications, and to gather and promote best practices in the
incremental migration of existing EDI and XML applications towards ebXML solutions.

The joint ebXML marketing team, which includes participants from Asia, Europe and North
America, is working on promoting awareness of ebXML among vendors, analysts, developers,
consultants and business managers internationally. At the European level, the CEN ISSS
European Workshop on e-Business Standardization (eBES) has recently started an ebXML
awareness campaign (organized as a series of one-day events at various locations in
Europe) and has secured funding to set up a Web-based ebXML info-centre in the second half
of this year. Apart from this, eBES has also launched a Vendor forum, which aims at
"Mobilizing Vendor involvement in the standardization process, the awareness and the
implementation of ebXML in Europe." 

The main project of the Vendor forum is currently being defined: a European ebXML
interoperability pilot project.  This project is an initiative of the CEN ISSS eBES Vendor
Forum and has active support from OASIS. It will be kicked off in September this year,
with an expected duration of between six and nine months. With this letter, we invite you
to join other vendors to collaboratively turn this project into a major initiative to
spread the use of ebXML in Europe. 

An active Technical Committee in OASIS is working on ebXML Implementation,
Interoperability and Conformance and intends to deliver a "Message Service Implementation
Guidelines" document during this summer. This document will incorporate insights from
international industry groups and is likely to be an important input to this
interoperability pilot project. CEN ISSS will provide the project with its central meeting
facilities in Brussels and the support of the eBES Workshop Manager. OASIS will make its
European Representative available to lead and/or otherwise support this project.

The interoperability pilot intends to provide a clear marketing signal to prospective end
users of ebXML solutions that a first step in ebXML implementation can be taken today, at
limited costs, by adopting some ebXML infrastructure components (in particular, the ebXML
Messaging Service) as a transport mechanism for EDIFACT or existing XML business messages.
This reflects the reality of the current business climate of scaled-down e-business
projects and reduced budgets, where new technology like ebXML needs to be implemented
incrementally in tactical projects and has to leverage investments in existing EDI and
XML-based systems.

Importantly, the pilot will demonstrate the benefits of interoperability, showing
prospective users that they can procure this software in a competitive, standards-based
environment, avoiding vendor lock-in and allowing them to exchange business information
with business partners that use software provided by other vendors.
Interoperability-related information created during the project will be fed back to the
various project teams maintaining and advancing the ebXML specifications.

As a vendor, by participating in this pilot project you will benefit from:
	Recognition in the European and international market place for your ebXML readiness and
	Access to participation in CEN's European ebXML awareness campaign;
	Pre-competitive joint market building for ebXML-based products in Europe;
	Exposure to an international audience via the CEN ISSS ebXML info-centre and the
ebXML.org web site;
	Ability to develop, test and demonstrate, at relatively very limited cost,
interoperability of your product with other (complementary or competing) vendor
implementations: an essential feature in trading communities where multi-vendor
implementations are the rule, rather than the exception;
	Ability to gain experience in working on ebXML as a consortium with other organizations,
and to apply for funding from funding agencies for related follow-on activities. Note that
the European Commission very much wants to support, and has substantial funding reserved
for, ebXML projects in the upcoming 6th Framework Programme.

Participation in the interoperability project is open to any Vendor that is (or becomes) a
core member of CEN ISSS eBES and member of OASIS and operates in Europe, directly as a
European company or as a European subsidiary of an international company, can attend
quarterly face-to-face meetings in Brussels and attend conference calls during European
business working hours. We also welcome participation by consultants (who may be
interested in getting hands-on experience with state-of-the-art ebXML technology) and by
participants of industry groups interested in supplying business cases, sample scenarios
or feedback generally. Note that participation in the pilot project is a voluntary effort,
where participants are expected to work on a self-funding basis. 

The European e-business landscape includes both larger companies that operate
internationally and smaller companies that operate within specific geographies and have a
thorough understanding of the local business environment, regulatory issues, culture and
language. The project is particularly aimed at increasing the involvement of these
European vendors in ebXML development, and to defend the European point of view in the
ebXML arena generally.  There is also a strong EDI community in Europe and, specifically,
a lot of EDIFACT experience in eBES, which the project very much hopes to take advantage
of, for instance in the form of documented guidelines and best practices for deploying an
ebXML Messaging Service to transport EDIFACT business messages. 

If you are interested in participating in this project, you are cordially invited to
attend the next Vendor forum meeting which will double as kick-off for the
interoperability pilot project meeting, on September 25, 14:00 at the CEN office, Rue de
Stassart 36, Brussels
(http://www.cenorm.be/isss/Workshop/eBES/Vendors/Vendor_meetings.htm), during which
further arrangements and decisions on scope, structure and content will be made among the
participants. Please send a letter confirming your participation to the eBES secretary,
Alain deChamps (alain.dechamps@cenorm.be) no later than Wednesday 18th  2002.

It is expected that the effort to participate in the project will be fairly limited for
vendors that have an implementation of the ebXML Messaging Service, especially for vendors
that track or are involved in other interoperability programmes. However, in fairness to
other participants who need to provide the same, please provide confirmation of your
commitment to make technical staff available to perform the integration activities needed
to interface your product with products of other participating organizations, and of your
willingness to attend the quarterly Vendor Forum meetings in Brussels, in the letter
announcing your attendance. 

We are looking forward to your positive response and to a successful European ebXML
interoperability pilot !

Kind regards,

John Ketchell, Director, CEN ISSS, Brussels, Belgium	
Patrick Gannon, CEO, OASIS, Billerica, MA, USA

Membership information

If you are a Vendor willing to participate in the project and are not yet a Core Member of
CEN ISSS eBES or not yet an OASIS member, please check out the following sites:


Information on the CEN ISSS eBES Workshop is available at:


The CEN ISSS eBES registration page is at:


For questions, contact Alain deChamps, Workshop Manager (alain.dechamps@cenorm.be)


Organizations can join OASIS as sponsor, contributor, or as individual. All information on
membership is available on the Web at http://www.oasis-open.org/join/ 

The membership application process is fully Web-based and accessible at:


For questions, please contact Pim van der Eijk, European Representative 

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