The Danish XML Committee responsible for standardization of XML Schemas and Information Objects in Denmark has announced the adoption of the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) as a standard for e-Commerce in the public sector. Operating under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Development and its Coordinating Information Committee, the Danish XML Committee oversees a national XML project that includes the Danish Public Procurement Portal (DOIP). DOIP is an "electronic market place accessible to all public buyers and suppliers in Denmark. Established to create a central access point for all public buyers and their suppliers, the portal provides information on supply, agreements, purchasing- and sales statistics. DOIP is the first public procurement portal in Europe, covering a public sector procurement of goods and services for approximately DKK 100 billion per year."
Following a public hearing, the Danish XML Committee adopted UBL version 0.7 "to enable integration between systems controlled by state authorities and the newly implemented portal for public procurement. UBL provides an XML library of common business data components together with a set of standard business documents such as purchase orders and invoices that are assembled from the component library. UBL is the product of an international technical committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), a non-profit consortium dedicated to the creation of XML standards. Currently at version 1.0 Beta, UBL is produced in an open, publicly visible process and is made available without royalties or other fees."
From the Announcement
"The Danish National XML Committee announced today that it has formally adopted an early version of the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) as a standard for e-Commerce in the public sector. Following a 30-day public hearing, the Danish XML Committee decided to use UBL 0.7 to enable integration between systems controlled by state authorities and a newly implemented portal for public procurement.
The Public Procurement Portal is an electronic market place to which both private and public purchasers and their suppliers have access, and whose functionality, interface, security and transaction costs are regulated by the public sector. It is the first public procurement portal in Europe. The establishment of the Public Procurement Portal is an important part of the strategy to make procurement efficient and is implemented on the basis of the wish to create a common infrastructure for the trade between the public units and the suppliers.
With a public sector procurement of goods and services for approximately DKK 100 billion per year, even modest improvements in efficiency will be of great value for Danish society. By virtue of the public sector's purchasing volume, increased use of e-commerce will furthermore contribute to the penetration of e-commerce in Denmark in general. The suppliers will get accustomed to e-commerce and an infrastructure will be established. Particularly favourable arrangements have been made to secure access by small suppliers.
"A royalty free standard with strong and broad vendor support is a key enabler for the development of both e-Business and e-Government. We are pleased to be a part of the OASIS UBL initiative," said Michael Bang Kjeldgaard of the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency, chair of the Danish XML Committee. "We have learned valuable lessons from the work being carried out in the OASIS UBL Technical Committee. Not only does UBL deliver a royalty free standard for electronic commerce, but the 'Naming and Design Rules,' that dictate how UBL is expressed in XML Schema, have inspired us in the development of other XML vocabularies."
"The availability of UBL has greatly reduced the costs associated with developing an XML-interface between State institutions and our procurement gateway," says Soren Bauer of the Agency for Governmental Management. "The OASIS UBL Technical Committee has been very responsive to our proposals for enhancement, and we are excited to be among the first to implement UBL. The UBL initiative is a major breakthrough and provides a huge potential for future integration efforts. We congratulate OASIS on a job well done."
Jon Bosak of Sun Microsystems, chair of the OASIS UBL Technical Committee and organizer of the working group that created XML agrees: "In adopting UBL, Denmark takes the lead in establishing an open, non-proprietary e-commerce environment equally suitable for both governments and small businesses. UBL's vendor-neutral development process and free licensing makes it a natural choice for government procurement, and I believe that this announcement will jump start UBL adoption by governments across Europe."
About the Danish Public Procurement Portal (DOIP)
The Public Procurement Portal (DOIP) is an electronic market place accessible to all public buyers and suppliers in Denmark.
The idea behind establishing the portal was to create a central place for all public buyers and their suppliers -- and also make it easier for both parts to get an overview of supply, agreements, purchasing- and sales statistics.
By establishing the Public Procurement Portal Denmark has become one of the first countries in the world with a public market place on the Internet and thereby making the public sector a market leader within the area of e-business in Denmark.
E-business includes all the processes of purchasing where a company and its suppliers exchange electronic data such as orders, invoices, payments, etc. and also the company's search for electronic purchase agreements and price lists. Furthermore the portal enables all parts to integrate the companies' buy-, sales- and payment terms into their underlying financial systems. This makes it possible for the companies to save money on administration since manual check-ups and other time consuming procedures can be considerable reduced.
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has during the establishment of the portal co-operated with seven pilots. The pilots have together with their suppliers played a big part in developing the portal. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation will in the future play an active part in the further development of the portal, however, giving special focus to the creation of tools, which are to promote both the private and public sectors' use of e-commerce. The Ministry also aims to lead the way by establishing standards for e-commerce in both Denmark and EU... [excerpted from the DOIP web site]
About the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL)
The OASIS UBL TC was chartered "to develop a standard library of XML business documents (purchase orders, invoices, etc.) by modifying an already existing library of XML schemas to incorporate the best features of other existing XML business libraries. The TC [would] then design a mechanism for the generation of context-specific business schemas through the application of transformation rules to the common UBL source library. UBL is intended to become an international standard for electronic commerce freely available to everyone without licensing or other fees...
The primary deliverables of the UBL TC in the UBL 1.0 time frame include: (1) A set of Naming and Design Rules for the representation of ebXML Business Information Entities (BIEs). (2) A UBL BIE library in the form of standard XML schema elements for common business data structures such as 'party,' 'address,' and 'line item.' (3) A set of basic business documents assembled from the BIE library, such as UBL Order, UBL Receipt Advice, and UBL Invoice. (4) A set of formatting specifications for the rendering of the basic business documents in human-readable form. (5) Guidelines for extending UBL within specific industry contexts...
Historically, UBL was developed in order to provide the document schemas for ebXML, but ebXML and UBL are not formally connected. It is easy to imagine UBL being used in a wide range of possible XML-based business frameworks other than ebXML... UBL can be (and was designed to be) a business vocabulary for ebXML, but ebXML can also be used with other business vocabularies as well. In fact, ebXML can in theory be used to exchange traditional EDI messages (X12 or EDIFACT), though we don't know of anyone actually doing this... [from the Charter and FAQ]
- Announcement: "Denmark Becomes First Country to Adopt OASIS Universal Business Language."
- Hearing for Danish eBusiness TC implementation of UBL draft version 0.7
- Danish Public Procurement Portal (DOIP)
- "e-Procurement/Denmark: Successful public/private procurement initiative in Denmark". Case study.
- Contact: Mr. Michael Kjeldgaard (Chair, Danish National XML Committee)
- The Danish XML project web site
- XML project organization
- UBL 1.0 Beta, OASIS Committee Draft. See the file listing for the ZIP distribution. [cache]
- UBL FAQ document
- UBL TC Charter
- OASIS Universal Business Language TC web site
- "Universal Business Language (UBL)" - General references.