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UN/CEFACT/EWG and ANSI ASC X12 Agreement

Agreement between UN/CEFACT/EWG and ANSI ASC X12 for the development of a common set of core business objects

UN/CEFACT/EWG is the working group within the UN/CEFACT in charge of developing and maintaining the UN/EDIFACT directory. More than 300,000 companies around the world use this standard for Electronic Data Interchange.

ANSI ASC X12 is chartered to develop uniform standards for inter-industry electronic interchange of business transactions -- electronic data interchange (EDI) within the United States. ASC X12 develops, maintains, interprets, publishes and promotes the proper use of American National and UN/EDIFACT International Electronic Data Interchange Standards.

Both groups are willing to respond positively to the challenge of the emerging technologies in the domain of electronic business, such as Extensible Markup Language (XML) and object oriented methodology. UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 recognize that these new technologies are an opportunity to collectively develop a common approach for the future language of E-business.

Considering that the members of the two groups are the most knowledgeable business experts in the various industry sectors, and that both groups are willing to develop core business objects, it seems logical and appropriate to join forces in order to leverage the experience of the experts of both communities and to speed up the work.

The primary objective of this joint task force is to assist in developing the first set of core business objects. This first set of objects will serve multiple purposes: they will be a formal input to the ebXML Initiative for the Core Components Project Team; they will support early modeling activities within the UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 communities; and, they will assist in providing greater harmonization between the world's two major EDI standards.

A secondary, but no less important objective will be to define a common mechanism and common processes to facilitate, validate, publish, and store the common business objects.

To this end, UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 jointly agree to collaborate on the above work. The scope of this agreement is contained in the following actions:

  • UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 will establish mechanisms to permit free and open exchange of information between the two standards organizations.
  • UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 steering committees shall identify representatives from their respective organizations to serve as liaisons for their organizations.
  • UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 shall encourage this work by ensuring that meeting space is provided during their respective organization's meeting for the core business object work to be performed.
  • A joint working group shall define methods for verification and validation of core business objects. The UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 steering committees shall ratify these methods as jointly approved. The methods shall be produced with appropriate UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 document numbers.
  • A joint working group shall collaborate to agree on a method for maintaining and accessing core business objects.

The first phase of this effort will commence with the signing of this document and will continue through May 2001. This phase is intended to facilitate the work of the ebXML Initiative, while at the same time supporting the long-term goals of both UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12. Both organizations expect that this phase will produce the first set of core business objects. A rudimentary solution for storing core business objects is also anticipated.

The second phase of this effort will build on the first, improving methodology. More core business objects will be ratified between the two groups and the repository containing the objects will be formalized.

UN/CEFACT EWG and ASC X12 agree to jointly manage this initiative. The chair of UN/CEFACT EWG and chair of ASC X12 shall jointly approve the proposed group's leadership. The leadership shall be directed to manage the group's processes, lead the development initiatives and provide progress/status reports to the sponsoring organizations. The group will be tasked to develop and publish its processes related to its work plan. Processes shall include the concepts of openness and consensus embraced by both sponsoring organizations. The reports shall be forwarded to the respective organizations at least two weeks (14 days) prior to the convening of the UN/CEFACT EWG or ASC X12 meetings.

Both the UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 enter into this agreement voluntarily. It is understood that the agreement will remain enforce until the joint effort is no longer required or until one party notifies the other, in writing, of a desire to terminate the agreement. Neither party agrees to assume any financial burden related to this agreement beyond providing meeting space and providing a method of posting information that is accessible to members of both organizations.

Pierre Georget

David R. Barkley

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See: "Joint UN/EDIFACT and ASC X12 Core Component Development Initiative."

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