The Discovery Component

Perkins Group releases UDDI report

PHILADELPHIA -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Feb. 5, 2001According to a just-released report by the Perkins Group, the UDDI standard will force database publishers to defend their franchises. UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), a standard created and endorsed by IBM, Microsoft, Ariba and over 100 other e-commerce companies, focuses on vendor identification and selection, the so-called discovery component.

This discovery component, according to Russell Perkins, one of the report's co-authors, is the real power and potential threat of UDDI to database publishers. "This is a function traditionally filled by B2B yellow pages, buying guides, pre-filed catalogs, and product specification databases, said Perkins. If the UDDI database reaches critical mass, it will put tremendous pressure on database producers."

Perkins believes that product information will proliferate through UDDI. "The one with the most granular product information wins," he says. Right now UDDI's core taxonomies are broad and general. As long as this persists, product database publishers have a clear advantage. However, as product or SKU-level information becomes available within UDDI, the competitive advantage will shift.  While certainly not designed for this purpose, UDDI could disenfranchise buying guide publishers, according to Perkins.

The report also points out that UDDI transcends e-commerce. "It is critical to understand that UDDI is an open framework. While designed to spur e-commerce, UDDI could serve as a platform for information exchange as well. Some of the possibilities include internal company directories, corporate job openings, and company press releases. Were any of these types of information to become broadly available via the UDDI framework, a number of other information providers will be disenfranchised too," said Lee Fleming, report co-author.

Short term, the report identifies some strategic options for database publishers, including front-ending the UDDI registry, acting as a registrar, and offering UDDI support services.

"UDDI leverages a trend of great significance to database publishers: source maintenance of data (SMD)," says Perkins. "SMD plays to the very architecture of the Web, which supports the proposition that content should physically reside only in one place, and that those who want the content of others should link to it, not attempt to copy or replicate it. UDDI may therefore offer a benefit to database producers not anticipated by its creators: data mining. Publishers could match their information against UDDI to verify accuracy, obtain additional data elements and discover new companies."