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Contacts: Sylvia Chansler/Paula Brici Bordigon

Lages & Associates





MicroAge, Ingram Micro, pcOrder and Tech Data

First to Commit to Adopt for Their Own Catalog Databases

SANTA ANA, Calif., June 4, 1999 – RosettaNet today announced the availability of the first-ever electronic technical dictionary to provide a common business language that will link an entire industry's supply chain business processes. Under a continuing mandate from a consortium of major information technology enterprises, RosettaNet spearheaded the development of the dictionary, which was designed by and for the IT industry to standardize data required for supply chain business processes.

The RosettaNet dictionary is a major element in a fast-track project to build business process interoperability into a fully automated electronic business "infostructure" that links manufacturers, software publishers, resellers, wholesale distributors, end users, financiers, carriers and e-business technologists.

Containing approximately 3,600 words, the data dictionary describes technical specifications for a wide range of IT products. For example, there are as many 900 words to describe all the properties of a personal computer, everything from modems and monitors down to the amount of RAM.

Previously, every distributor and manufacturer had its own proprietary dictionary of terms resulting in redundant, overlapping efforts by individual companies as well as confusion in the procurement process due to each company’s unique terminology.

With the RosettaNet technical dictionary, these companies will now be able to use a common platform to conduct business processes. For example, when introducing a new product, information describing that product will only have to be entered once by the manufacturer and will then appear consistently throughout distributor and reseller catalogs.

"The IT industry is incredibly fragmented with hundreds of manufacturers, distributors, and resellers describing thousands of products in different ways," said Fadi Chehadé, chief executive officer at RosettaNet. "The enormous power of the dictionary is that it eliminates all this disparity and allows everyone to share a common language from which to do business."

Chehadé is quick to point out that the dictionary’s hierarchical structure is far more than a compendium of words and meanings. Layers within layers of descriptive fields refer to product type, multiple specifications and their definitions, terms to explain dimensions and their units, and a value domain field for listing model variations.

As another example, the standard for describing a flat panel display, under the Video Products category, contains 28 individual attributes. The bandwidth description alone provides a definition of the term, a reference to an IEEE standard, a dimension definition as frequency, units defined as megahertz, and a listing of available frequencies.

Development of the dictionary was led by RosettaNet Managing Board Member pcOrder, a provider of product catalogs to the PC industry. The dictionary was co-developed and implemented by pcOrder along with additional RosettaNet board

members Ingram Micro and Tech Data. Chehadé explained, "It was a natural fit to bring these pivotal channel players together to collaborate on a common supply chain language because they are uniquely qualified to do so."

"They had already developed their own dictionaries, which were the most commonly used throughout the industry. The project then focused on the challenge of collapsing these three disparate dictionaries, along with the manufacturers’ dictionaries, into a single standardized dictionary. These firms led the creation of the dictionary and will be the first ones to use it to build their catalog databases," said Chehadé.

Following initial development, the dictionary was reviewed by companies representing the IT industry, feedback was received and implemented, then acceptance of the dictionary was voted on by RosettaNet members. The dictionary nomenclature is expected to also be used in manufacturing, inventory management, order entry and other IT supply chain processes.

Satisfying the demands of end users and providing tangible benefits to these users was also a major factor in the development of the RosettaNet dictionary. "Buyers now drive the IT supply chain, and they are major beneficiaries of industry standards that streamline the ordering process," said Chehadé.

"The depth and speed of this project is a milestone in the history of standards development," said Charlie Martin, chief information officer at MicroAge, a global systems integrator which plans to implement the RosettaNet dictionary for its own catalog databases. "There is a great deal of content, yet it is structured for rapid deployment by solution providers. It is a relational dictionary ideally suited to building relational databases." As an early adopter of RosettaNet standards, MicroAge has embraced the dictionary and other elements of RosettaNet as part of its own electronic commerce strategy.

Another key aspect of the RosettaNet dictionary is providing a precise language that enables fast and economical machine-to-machine translation of the words into foreign languages. This flexibility, which Chehadé characterizes as essential to

RosettaNet's overall mission to globalize the IT supply chain's business processes, promotes international, multilingual e-business initiatives that cross all geographic boundaries. Businesses can now understand each other and seamlessly integrate their business transactions.

The project was completed in eight months under the direction of Linda York, vice president – operations at RosettaNet. Designed for easy Web-based maintenance, the dictionary will be published with updates once a week on the RosettaNet website. "We’re taking a proactive stance on updates," she said. "We will regularly call participants to check on new products in an effort to keep ahead of the technology curve."

The RosettaNet Managing Board now consists of 34 CEOs, CIOs, and executives representing global members of the IT supply chain, including: American Express, Arrow Electronics, Avnet, CHS Electronics, Cisco Systems, CompUSA, Compaq, Computacenter, Deutsche Financial Services, EDS, Federal Express, GE Information Services, GSA, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Inacom, Ingram Micro Inc., Insight, Intel, Marshall Industries, MicroAge, Microsoft, Netscape, NEC Technologies, Office Depot, Oracle, pcOrder, SAP AG, Siemens, Solectron, Tech Data, 3Com, Toshiba Information Systems and United Parcel Service.

About RosettaNet

Founded in 1998, RosettaNet is an independent, self-funded, non-profit consortium dedicated to the development and deployment of standard electronic commerce interfaces to align the processes between IT supply chain partners on a global basis. RosettaNet can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.rosettanet.org.

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