The organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards interoperability consortium last week announced that its members had approved Version 2.0 of a specification designed to ensure that companies can exchange electronic trading data even if they use software from different vendors.
The designation of the electronic business XML Collaboration Protocol Profile and Agreement, or CPPA, 2.0 specification as an OASIS Open Standard signifies that it has achieved the highest level of ratification.
The standard defines a business partners technical capabilities and documents agreements among partners, enabling organizations to engage in electronic collaboration, according to OASIS officials in Boston. Ratification means that developers can deploy ebXML CPPA with the confidence that it is an accepted standard, according to Karl Best, vice president of OASIS.
The goal behind CPPA is to foster global collaborative e-business growth by removing barriers to entry and eliminating the high cost and complexity of enabling trading partners systems to interoperate, according to industry analysts.
Under the specification, the Collaboration Protocol Profile defines a partys message exchange capabilities and the business collaborations that it supports. The CPA (Collaboration Protocol Agreement) defines the way two business parties will interact regarding specific business collaborations. After negotiating a CPA, both buyer and seller are required to use identical copies of the CPA to configure the run-time system in their trading software.
At the same time, the OASIS Open Standard facilitates the migration of both traditional EDI (electronic data interchange)-based applications and other legacy applications to ebXML-based platforms, according to officials.
How CPPA 2.0 Works
1. A buyer or seller downloads a trading partner¹s profile from an ebXML directory
Although in its second release, it is too soon to tell if ebXML CPPA will be much used, according to Jess Thompson, an analyst with Gartner Group Inc. Of the major infrastructure software vendors supporting the standard, only three—IBM, WebMethods Inc. and Sybase Inc.—have implemented it, and only Sybase is actively marketing it, Thompson said.
“Microsoft [Corp.] is dead set against it,” said Thompson, in Seattle. “In general, the problem that the standard has is its a good technical standard, but Microsoft is anti-ebXML, and IBM seems ambivalent about it. So its a case of a good standard thats going to have a tough time out there because the two biggest players are either ambivalent or dead set against it.”
Thompson said there are organizations that are implementing ebXML, including some large automotive manufacturers. However, right now, “electronic business—collaboration if you would—is done with a prearranged set of partners propagating an EDI type of relationship,” said Thompson.
“As you go out and want to do more business dynamically, then youre going to need that [type of standard],” he said. “But businesses arent doing that yet.”
CPPA 2.0 was developed by a number of software vendors, including Commerce One Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Intel Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.