XML/EDI "the E-business framework"

The Future of Electronic Business

What does it take for a document/format to meet the challenges of delivering on the concept of enabling the "Electronic Enterprise" of the future?

One can foresee that the requirements would include:

  1. Message objects containing all the information (rules and data) necessary to process them without reference to the originator for clarification.
  2. A self-validating and authenticating message.
  3. Displayed as requested by the author or reader, including local styles, and also tailoring itself automatically to the particular device or media available.
  4. Dynamic links from various sources/servers and object components from around the world.
  5. A web presence with common tagged elements.
  6. A legacy interface with the new without having to redesign expensive business processes.
  7. Extended EDI messages with multimedia-based objects and content.
  8. Searchable via today's and enhanced object based engines of the future.
  9. Encapsulated internal routing and security elements.
  10. An easily assimilated protocol via todayís software.
  11. Manipulated and viewed with your Web browser, word processor or spreadsheet program.
  12. Dynamically updateable industry codes cross-linked to reflect the local language.
  13. Compatible with internal workflow subsystems and external business-to-business pipelines.
  14. Automated on-line E-business.
  15. Intranet access to local databases without the use of complex middleware.

As the XML standards and technology mature, XML/EDI shows the promise to deliver on this vision through an E-business framework.

The XML/EDI Groupís E-Business Framework

The XML/EDI Group's E-Business framework defines how companies can use current standards and existing technologies to enable a simple and meaningful electronic information routing process. It does not attempt to create yet another new standard. The framework formulates advantageous business practices through fully automated electronic communication, making secure document exchange transparent to the end-user. The E-Business framework allows for information to cross the boundaries of organizational departments internally and reaches external trading partners dynamically and seamlessly.

Why the need for the E-business framework?

Electronic data interchange has been in use for a quarter century. Despite the long history and numerous advantages of EDI, only an estimated 125,000 organizations worldwide have an EDI system. Furthermore, there are only 80,000 EDI enabled businesses in the US. That works out to less than 2% of the 6.2 million businesses registered in the United States. Due to cost and complexity, small and medium sized businesses find it difficult to implement and maintain a traditional EDI system. For these reasons, most businesses do not enjoy the operating efficiencies that an automated electronic information routing system proposes. The obstacles that business must overcome to start their EDI/EC implementation seem insurmountable, but that is changing with the advent of XML/EDI.

Opportunity for Businesses

The Internet proposes a vast opportunity for businesses to conduct a form of electronic communication. In contrast to traditional EDI, Internet use has grown astronomically in the last few years. New and advanced technological innovations are fueling the excitement of positive projections portraying a bright future for any business involved in electronic business. A prime reason for these high expectations is the XML/EDI E-business framework. The XML/EDI framework, along with related Internet technologies, is rewriting the rules of how people interact in today's business environment. XML/EDI is relevant to all customer-to-supplier relationships, whether manufacturer, consumer-oriented, service-oriented, or government-oriented organization.


On July 1st 1997, President Clinton asked industry experts to address in their own way the challenges of global commerce. The very next day, the XML/EDI Group put up a web site to promote a solution to President Clinton's challenge. Industry experts acknowledge the current limitations and for this reason, professionals from across the globe are combining synergy in an effort called the E-Business framework. The E-Business framework is an international effort involving individuals from small and medium enterprises as well as major technological companies. In order to realize the full potential of the Internet and related technologies, millions of users need to have the capability in-house to automate business information exchange. The XML/EDI Group is delivering on President Clintonís challenge.

Essentially there are three core models for deployment that are required to be supported by XML/EDI:

  1. On-line real-time or "Interactive"
  2. Forms-based
  3. Batched transactions
XML/EDI business transactions will take place via servers, desktops and laptops using:

Come join the XML/EDI Group and help build the E-business framework. Join one of our Focus Teams. Help align your product with the Guidelines to meet the demands of the end users of XML/EDI. Ultimately the activities of the XML/EDI Group enable a new form of electronic information exchange, which is better, faster, cheaper, open, and scaleable -- be part of the excitement! http://xmledi-group.org

Copyright © The XML/EDI Group, January 2001

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