An announcement from the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Business Applications Software Developers Association (BASDA) describes a new testing program designed to discover how different purchasing software packages may best interoperate, based upon common IT standards for eProcurement. BASDA Members taking part in the trial include Agresso, Capita Education Services, Microsoft Business Solutions, Oracle, Sage, and SAP. The project uses an implementation of the BASDA eBIS-XML Data Suite standard which "has already been proved commercially across Europe; it enables software to generate and read the standard XML based documents which cuts costs and eliminates re-keying." The technical objective of the Proof of Concept trials is for a version of eBIS-XML Order and Invoice schemas to become compliant with the eGovernment Interoperability Framework (e-GIF). UK e-GIF sets out the policy and standards for interoperability across the public sector and is effectively the Government's standard system requirement, with which any 'cross government' system would need to comply. The XML Schemas must also conform to OGC's eProcurement Functional Requirements Specification. The goal of the project is to enable easier access to the government marketplace for smaller suppliers (SMEs)."
From the Announcement
Assessment trials are underway to find the most effective way to allow computers running different purchasing software packages to 'talk to each other'. This is a joint initiative from Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Business Application Software Developers' Association (BASDA).
The Proof of Concept trials of the common vocabulary (known as XML) are another example of a growing joined up' approach between OGC and the IT Industry to establish common IT standards for eProcurement. These standards will enable suppliers and public sector buyers to conduct business online more easily.
The objective is to make it easier for government departments to run IT purchasing systems, whilst at the same time ensuring suppliers are able to do business with government online, regardless of which software system they use.
Importantly, the move will enable easier access to the government marketplace for smaller suppliers (SMEs).
The [XML Schema] approach is in line with OGC's view that eProcurement can generate substantial value for money improvements across government departments and agencies, as well as offering significant process-cost reductions for suppliers.
HM Government is committed to using IT products that support open standards and specifications in all future IT developments and to avoid lock-in to proprietary IT products and services for both suppliers and the public sector.
The objective of the Proof of Concept trials is for a version of eBIS-XML Order and Invoice' schemas to become compliant with the eGovernment Interoperability Framework (e-GIF). This sets out the policy and standards for interoperability across the public sector and is effectively the Government's standard system requirement, to which any cross government' system would need to comply.
The Office of the eEnvoy (OeE) leads on the eGovernment Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) which is an essential component of eGovernment Strategy.
The IT industry is represented within the Proof of Concept trials by BASDA (Business Applications Software Developers Association), whose membership comprises more than 350 international applications software developers and is recognised by the United Nations, the European Commission and the UK Government.
BASDA and OGC, together with a number of Government bodies and suppliers, are currently testing eBIS-XML schemas. If successful, the aim is for suitable XML schemas to eventually be built into COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) eProcurement IT applications. This will ensure that whichever purchasing system a supplier chooses to use, they will not be precluded from doing business with the Government through system incompatibility.
Benefits from using eProcurement include contractual savings, real time' financial information on what is being spent with each supplier, lower levels of maverick' or off-contract' purchasing and improved commercial relationships with suppliers.
On 18th February 2002 OeE and OGC established the Interoperability Working Group with members drawn from the public sector. The first stage was to formally model the Public Sector procurement process, which was done using UML (Unified Modelling Language) as mandated by e-GIF. The result of this work was the OGC eProcurement Functional Requirements Specification. The Proof of Concept Trials are being carried out this year to test messages back and forth between various IT applications and to define Order and Invoice XML Schemas using the BASDA eBIS-XML Data Suite. The schemas must comply with OGC's eProcurement Functional Requirements Specification. The specification was published on OeE's consultation website last year for public discussion.
- Announcement 2003-06-17: "OGC Trials 'Common IT Language' To Drive Government eCommerce Agenda. BASDA's eBIS-XML in Proof-of-Concept Trial With OGC."
- Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA) website
- BASDA news links
- Introduction to eBIS-XML
- Core eBIS-XML home page
- Subsets of the eBIS-XML standard
- eBIS-XML Developer Community
- eBIS-XML Test Service
- opXML - "A standard for XML messaging developed by (British Office Supplies and Services Federation) BOSS in conjunction with representatives from all tiers of the industry supply chain and industry software providers to meet their agreed needs... based on the most recent version of BASDA e-BIS XML..."
- eProcurement Trials announcement summary
- Contacts: Dennis Keeling (Chief Executive, BASDA), Wendy Haylock (BASDA Communications Director), Martin Day (UK Office of Government Commerce).
- "Electronic Procurement Standardization" - Main reference page.
- "BASDA eBIS-XML" - Main reference page.