If you ever wanted to create a catalog request, write a certificate of origin or issue a self-billed invoice, but were totally lost as to how to go about it, great news: you are saved.
These are just a few of the whopping 23 new document types available under UBL 2.0. OASIS, which last year played a major role in helping define international ECM standards, just approved v2.0 as an OASIS Standard, the highest level of ratification issued by the international standards consortium.UBL 2.0 picks up where 1.0 left off, boasting 31 document types as compared to 1.0’s initial set of 8 simple order-to-invoice types, which covered the following scenarios:
* Order Response
* Order Response Simple
* Order Change
* Order Cancellation
* Despatch Advice
* Receipt Advice
Now either business has gotten more complex in the last couple of years or 1.0 left much to be desired: the new document types expand from simple invoicing functions to include other scenarios having to do with procurement and basic transport processes. Additionally, 2.0 includes over 1,000 XML data elements whose foundations lie in the ebXML Core Components Technical Specification (ISO 15000-5).
But v2.0 doesn’t just expand business management horizons. It also orchestrates major changes in code list management, borrowing from the collective muscle of W3C XSLT, W3C XPath, and ISO Schematron. This means the ability to implement business rule-checking as part of instance validation becomes a stock functionality in the UBL 2.0 release, according to Tim McGrath, vice chair of the OASIS UBL Technical Committee.
The updated set of doc types and data elements were born in a major collaboration that includes funding by the US government and the governments of Norway, Denmark, England, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
The OASIS UBL Technical Committee, which developed UBL 2.0, also wield serious clout with reps from Boeing, Intel, Sun Microsystems and even the Denmark Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation, Korea Institute for Electronic Commerce, New Zealand State Services Commission, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, and the US Navy.
Denmark, particularly active in the inception of v2.0, already “[sees] UBL 2.0 as a backbone for the future of eProcurement, and we have already seen the first real ERP-implementation of the Danish customization of UBL 2.0,” says Marie Munk, Deputy Director General of the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency. She adds, “We can only recommend other countries to join the work of developing open international standards, based on user needs.”
UBL, or Universal Business Language, is the standard for electronic XML business docs that have to do with billing, sourcing, fulfillment and invoicing, among other scenarios. Uniform UBL formats for electronic messages connect the different facets of existing business management practices across the board, so users don’t have to re-type data in fax- or paper-based supply chains.
UBL also makes it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to enter the world of e-commerce and conduct transactions in a universal electronic language, broadening otherwise limited communication frontiers.
Because of this flexibility, some see the updated OASIS Standard as a kind of economic Rosetta stone. OASIS President and CEO Patrick Gannon observes that UBL can be especially helpful in the evolution of the UN’s economic development programs: “As a royalty-free, open standard, UBL offers a significant advantage for governments seeking longer term sustainability of applications and portability of data.”
UBL 2.0 has already become a major player in the way its backers in particular do business. One such example is xfy, a native XML app platform from JustSystems, which already supports the new document types. JustSystems recently acquired XMetaL, one of 2006's major mergers in the XML world.
Learn more via the UBL FAQ. Or check out Manoj Ranaweera's blog post with a quick break down on UBL 2.0 document types.
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