"> ebXML FAQs – Drummond Group

ebXML Messaging Standard Frequently Asked Questions

  • Electronic Business using eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML) is a standards framework created by UN/CEFACT and OASIS. ebXML’s mission is “To provide an open XML-based infrastructure enabling the global use of electronic business information in an interoperable, secure and consistent manner by all parties.”

    ebXML has five main areas of focus:

    • Business processes – Business Process Schema Specification
    • Register business processes – Registry & Repository
    • Define trading relationships – Collaborative Partner Profiles & Agreements
    • Common terms for business data – Core Components
    • Reliably exchange business messages – Message Services

    The ebXML framework is a loosely coupled group of standards that was built concurrently. The result is that each major standard may be implemented independent of the others.

  • ebXML Message Services is the messaging standard defined within the ebXML framework and is sometimes abbreviated as ebMS. ebMS has seen the most interest and adoption of the five key ebXML standard efforts. ebMS provides for secure and reliable messaging over the Internet. Organizations that exchange business data using ebMS can take advantage of its ability to provide:

    Privacy
    Encryption of data via SSL or optional data encryption standards

    Authentication
    User authentication via SSL or Digital Signature

    Reliable Messaging
    Once-and-only-once message delivery and integrity of message content validated through SSL or Digital Signature

    Robust Messaging
    Support for extremely large messages, multiple payloads in a single message & asynchronous messaging

    Flexibility
    Messages of any data type, including binary graphics, EDI or XML

  • In the automotive sector, industry groups such as AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group) and STAR (Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail) are looking to ebMS as a means for businesses to exchange messages and data directly in a safe, reliable manner over the Internet and are making recommendations to their respective memberships.

    In August 2004, STAR published the STAR Transport Guidelines which included ebMS Implementation Guidelines. These guidelines provided best practice recommendations for using ebMS in the upstream automotive space and a recommendation to include data compression, a feature not currently in the ebMS specification, but critical to their business needs. STAR serves as the IT standards body for the North American retail automotive industry and focuses on providing assistance to automotive dealers, manufacturers and Retail Systems Providers (RSPs) as they seek to establish a common data exchange with one another.

    For AIAG, ebMS is one of the core standards in play within a critical pilot and demonstration project named IV&I (Inventory Visibility and Interoperability). It is in a position to bring significant cost savings to the auto sector by providing a base for interoperability of inventory systems throughout the automotive manufacturing industry.

  • Drummond serves as a vendor-neutral, third party to test commercial software for interoperability. To maintain its vendor neutrality, Drummond does not make product recommendations or provide pricing information. Companies interested in purchasing software which have successfully passed interoperability testing can refer to the product listings located on the Drummond website. To see a list of certified ebMS products, or to read all the test details, go to ebMS Interoperability Product Directory.

    Take note that ebMS is just one of the standards that Drummond tests. Products that pass DG’s vendor-neutral tests are certified interoperable or compliant and published in the list of Drummond Certified products. Since 1999, Drummond has facilitated multiple ebMS test events of numerous software vendors’ products. When suppliers choose from the list, they start with products that:

    • Have met the benchmark requirements for interoperability and compliance
    • Will work together with a minimum of installation effort and expense
    • Represent a range of features and price points to meet different supplier needs

    It is up to you to contact the individual companies to get pricing and product feature information.

  • Drummond conducts periodic tests of products for various standards. The frequency varies by standard and its stage of adoption in the industry. See the Drummond Test Calendar for each year’s schedule-where is this link?

  • Third-party software vendor solutions that support ebMS can be used to automate business to business style messaging with supply chains.

  • ebMS is just one of the standards that Drummond tests. Products that pass Drummond’s vendor-neutral tests are certified interoperable or compliant and published in the list of Drummond Certified products. Since 1999, Drummond has facilitated multiple ebMS test events with numerous software vendors’ products. To see a list of certified ebMS products, or to read all the test details, go to ebMS Interoperability Product Directory.

    When suppliers choose from the list, they start with products that:

    • Have met the benchmark requirements for interoperability and compliance
    • Will work together with a minimum of installation effort and expense
    • Represent a range of features and price points to meet different supplier needs
  • Benefits will differ depending upon exact situations, but general benefits include:

    1. Secure messaging, including encryption for Privacy of data
    2. Reliable messaging including guaranteed one-time delivery of messages
    3. Ability to automate messaging, reducing keying errors
  • Performance will differ depending upon platforms, memory, network and processor speed. Most ebMS solutions can process a message in a matter of seconds and will allow for significant scalability even on smaller servers or desktop machines.

  • ebMS can transport any type of digitized data including pictures, audio and EDI file formats. Data is transported in a package known as a payload, in a similar fashion to e-mail attachments. A single message can contain multiple payloads.

  • Software vendors that provide ebMS support also provide middleware, or partner with companies that provide middleware targeted at integrating messaging with back-end systems. As ebMS is SOAP-based, an ebMS gateway can also be quickly integrated to backend systems that support SOAP based messaging.

  • Currently, ebMS version 2.0 of the ebXML Message Service standard is being utilized by multiple industries, such as automotive and public health.

  • ebMS is maintained by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems) and was approved as an OASIS standard in 2002. Since 1999, more than 100 ebMS solution providers have successfully completed Drummond’s interoperability testing of ebMS Version 2.0.

  • No. The AS2 and ebXML Messaging standards do not interoperate. However, a growing number of software vendors provide functionality that would support both standards. So, one might start with AS2 and move to ebXML, or vice versa, with the same product base. Please check with your software vendor for details.

  • Return-on-Investment will differ depending upon situations. General ROI can be assessed by looking at:

    • Error reduction due to less keying of data
    • Value of using a secure, standards-based messaging service
    • Value of integrating back-end systems
  • OASIS and the UN sponsor an industry portal specific to ebMS at: https://www.ebxml.org/

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