Crafting the Same Language We'll Eventually Speak

Movement to global standards continues

February 28, 2001 -- The Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 and the UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) initiated work this month to create a single set of business objects (core components) that are valid within the UN/EDIFACT and ASC X12 business processes. This single set of business objects (core components) would be the basis for future developments with new and emerging technologies, such as eXtensible Markup Language (XML).

This ASC X12 and EWG joint initiative is enhancing B2B communications by defining and validating a set of protocol-neutral e-business objects valid within both UN/EDIFACT and ASC X12. In addition to leveraging current company investments in EDI, this initiative will also help to extend the reach of e-business to small and midsize companies.

The joint effort will enable developing and transition economies to afford the implementation of e-business standards as well. We are very excited about our efforts to build next-generation e-business standards through our joint efforts with EWG, participation in ebXML, and integration of business modeling and XML into our X12 standards development process, said ASC X12 Chair David Barkley.

The ebXML initiative is a worldwide effort to develop a common framework for using XML for business messages. A critical part of the initiative combines a definition of business processes with an identification of common or core components used in most business messages. The XML standards proposed by X12 and EWG will be based on ebXML recommendations. To complement this effort, ASC X12's Process Integration Task Group (PITG) is coordinating demonstrations of modeling software tools while preparing How to guides to illustrate modeling methodology concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. PITG's work will build on existing frameworks within ASC X12 and EWG and help to define the business processes and modeling.

Subcommittee elections promise continued implementation of ASC X12's goals. Mary Blantz of Netfish Technologies Inc., was re-elected as the chair of the X12 Materials Management Subcommittee and Sarita Leassear of the American Petroleum Institute as the vice chair. Gary Beatty of Washington Publishing Co. was re-elected as the X12 Insurance Subcommittee chair, and David Meiser of State Farm Insurance Cos. as the vice chair.

ASC X12, comprised of cross-industry representation, develops the most widely used EDI standards that interact with a multitude of e-commerce technologies and serve as the premier tool for integrating electronic applications. Through standards setting and active participation in emerging and technically relevant initiatives, ASC X12 facilitates the effective exchange of electronic information.