GE GXS Targets SMEs

Web services offering lets small, midsize enterprises trade business docs over Internet

Gaithersburg, MD  May 1, 2002  GE Global eXchange Services (GXS) today rolled out Web services capabilities in support of e-commerce transactions for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), a move that GXS said will help these companies save costs, reduce supply chain cycle times, and increase responsiveness to customers by automatically sending and receiving business documents over the Internet with little or no hands-on participation.

In addition, GXS said the new capabilities are designed to enable SMEs to integrate more effectively with large trading communities, thus benefiting companies of all sizes by expanding the reach of electronic trading.

GXS has incorporated Web services capabilities into its Network-Based Translation (NBT) service, which allows businesses to transact with their trading partners in a variety of data formats. NBT customers will now be able to instruct their own Web services-enabled computer to connect automatically to NBT over the Internet and perform, on its own, such basic tasks as upload, download, list or delete transaction files.

For example, a small, U.S.-based manufacturer of high-tech components might need to check frequently for new electronic purchase orders received from customers around the world requesting quick-turn delivery. The manufacturer would instruct its Web services-enabled materials planning application to automatically connect to NBT over the Internet at frequent intervals, 24-hours a day, then identify and download any new purchase orders. The manufacturer would save the cost of implementing additional technology while receiving time-critical updates to purchase order status.

"Through Internet technologies such as Web services, Web forms and hosted data translation, GXS is bringing to smaller businesses around the world the types of cost savings and supply chain efficiencies that have long been the domain of large corporations," said John Radko, GXS's chief architect. "GXS will continue to expand the affordability and convenience of electronic trading, thus benefiting individual buyers and suppliers as well as entire global trading communities."

GXS's Network-Based Translation service enables companies to exchange business data with their trading partners  in formats such as electronic data interchange (EDI), variations of XML, and user-defined formats  without having to reformat the data to match trading partner standards. By providing data translation as a service on a per-document basis, NBT is designed to remove the cost and complexity associated with document translation.

The Internet connectivity options that GXS's NBT service now supports include WSDL (Web services definition language) and SOAP (single object access protocol) for secure data transfer using Web services technology; Web forms, so that data can be keyed directly into a standardized Web form and sent to NBT for translation into a data format acceptable to the recipient; and HTTP/s and FTP.