Saturday 29 August 2009

One universal language - it's here

Daring title, isn't it? Almost true though. In my last post I shed my thoughts on a global approach towards standardisation, and this blog is about a truly global language. Global, and not universal, as the aliens might be lining up to conquer this world, but conducting B2B is not one of their concerns

A few requirements:

1. All communication exchange is done via physical messages. We all know the fun game of sitting in a circle of a dozen people, where we relay to our neighbour on the left the message we heard from our neighbour on the right. Even if there are no cheaters ;-) in the circle, the message at the end is very different
from the message at the start. More importantly: when written down, even if all the people in the circle are gone, the message will still be there

2. All business agreements have to be written down functionally, regardless of their origin. We all speak different languages, but the only time we don't understand each other is when we have different perceptions of the same topic - that has got nothing to do with the fact whether we express our mutual agreements via EDIFACT, X12 or XML, or anything else

3. The bigger the organisation, the slower the decision making. It is fun to globalise, but this world has just grown out of hand. The EDIFACT evolution confronts us with the simple science of united interests that we can witness in any dictionary: that dictionary is just that big because it contains all words. I call it explosive relations, and it touches my view on business rules versus business exceptions: 9 rules with 1 exception makes for 1 business exception, but if you have 10 business partners, that calculates to the same 9 business rules yet 10 exceptions you have to support

So, let's focus on industry-led business document standards. Whether we then choose the EDIFACT, XML or flat-file form of that, is almost irrelevant.

I'm aiming on industry-wide general business documents, with a few (and probably more) intra-industry documents for the specials. Industry participants who deviate from these standards will pay the price when it comes to the speed with which they are able to sustain that deviation while at the same time adhering to the worldwide industry standards needed to participate

So, let's not reinvent the wheel, nor make it perfectly round. 80-20 is good enough. And let's stop about XML versus EDIFACT or any other physical representation - if you buy a new car, you just want it to have the colour you picked. You really don't care what the exact chemical content of the paint is

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