OBI the Way

Version 3.0 of spec supports transaction processing for catalog purchases

Cupertino, CA  April 12, 2001  The Open Buying on the Internet (OBI) Consortium today announced the release of its Version 3.0 framework, which adds high-volume support for XML-based transactions. Version 3.0 of the framework enables users to conduct catalog-based purchasing transactions using the rapidly evolving XML platforms, in addition to the more traditional back-end systems business document standards, EDI and EDIFACT.

Support of XML transactions now allows version 3.0 to encompass all the most common standards for electronic exchange of business transactions. "OBI has done the heavy lifting by supporting XML as a transaction-processing standard," says Fred Sollish, executive director of the OBI Consortium.

The 3.0 framework represents the combined work of many leading e-commerce organizations, including Commerce One, Ariba, SupplyWorks, EPIC Systems, Netfish and iPlanet. Also contributing to the development of the spec are the leaders of high-volume online commerce on the buy and sell sides, including Office Depot, BOC Gases, WW Grainger, Sun Microsystems, and leading financial institutions such as American Express and VISA. In addition, several international consortia  ebXML, LEXECOM, ECP-NL and AIAG  played an active role in building 3.0.

"With the addition of XML to OBI's options for integrating buying organizations with their suppliers, OBI now provides a solution that eliminates 'vendor lock,'" said David Liggett, senior vice president at EPIC Systems. "The standard is now compatible with the widest range of existing online ordering applications."

Version 3 also brings OBI to Europe and Asia. "Using EDIFACT makes it a true worldwide standard for e-procurement," said Fred van Blommestein, founding board member of Electronic Commerce Platform Nederland (ECP-NL). 

"OBI remains one of the key e-commerce standards in practical commercial use today, due to its usefulness, robustness, and adaptability," added Jeff Herrmann, president and CEO of SupplyWorks. "We are pleased to see OBI continue to evolve to meet the needs of the marketplace."

OBI plans in the near future to deploy a compliance program where implementers can test their ability to process OBI transactions regardless of the format, whether it is EDI (ANSI x12), UN/EDIFACT and now XML. This program aims to make it easier for buyers to find suppliers and quickly begin doing business using OBI.

The OBI Consortium is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing open standards for business-to-business Internet procurement. The consortium provides a forum for standards development, education and compliance certification. OBI is managed by CommerceNet, a non-profit organization bringing together thought-leaders in business, government, technology and academic to advance e-commerce worldwide.