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Will XML really replace current EDI standards?

 
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The company that I work for has recently embraced XML as a viable, lower-cost alternative to EDI. The belief is that XML will soon become the industry standard for data transmission for b2b and b2c applications because of the high per-transaction costs of traditional VANs.
Clients of the legacy systems that we support scoff at the idea of tearing down the EDI systems that they have spent a fortune to build. Does anyone think that XML can really topple the traditional EDI behemoth?
 
Greenhorn
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Brian,
I know the kind of legacy client you're talking about - it's the same kind of client that used to say "Oh, COBOL's not going anywhere - we're going to be using our dumb terminals and CICS screens for the foreseeable future." Certainly many large corporations have invested an incredible amount of money in their EDI infrastructure, so they're going to be loath to discard it in favor of XML. However, there are some serious limitations with EDI which I think many corporations are coming to recognize. I did some work on the MISMO XML standard for the mortgage industry, which of course is very old-school and relies heavily on EDI - but the big players in that industry recognize the advantages of XML over EDI. The flexibility of XML standards, the human-readability of XML documents, and the emergent transport standards and tools to manipulate XML have all combined to make it a very attractive alternative to EDI. I think that XML standards will ultimately supplant EDI - it may just be a slower process in some corporate circles.
- Kevin
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Kevin Williams
Senior System Architect, Equient Corporation
author of: Professional XML Databases
 
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Hi Brian,
I think much of the answer to this lies in the sentence you wrote: "the EDI systems that they have spent a fortune to build"
Until now, adopting an EDI system has been a process only the largest of companies have been able to utilize. Companies are not going to spend such fortunes now that they have alternatives that are simpler and cheaper. Also, the time spent for implementing an EDI solution is cut dramatically.
Regards,
Marius
 
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UNTDID - United Nations Directories for EDI together with The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) recently established ebXML initiative . An Electronic Business XML Working Group has been formed " to develop a technical framework that will enable XML to be utilized in a consistent manner for the exchange of all electronic business data."
No big deal, some people might say. But I think the day is not too far when corporations start to look away from EDI towards XML -both for efficiency and cheaper transaction costs.
Also see www.ebxml.org
Just my two cents worth..
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Ajith Kallambella M.
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java2 Platform.
[This message has been edited by Ajith Kallambella (edited January 24, 2001).]
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