Remember the promise of the paperless office? Computers communicating electronically with
one another were going to replace the tons of paperwork that characterized business-to-business
interaction: purchase orders, invoices, payments, confirmations, documentation. The list was nearly
endless. Electronic document interchange (EDI) was going to be the savior or our systems and
protector of our forests.
It didn't happen. EDI never met the challenges of connecting scores of proprietary and
mission-critical applications. Now a new success of is stepping up to the challenge.
RosettaNet is both a set of standards and a global consortium of more than 500 electronic
components, IT and semiconductor manufacturing companies working to create, implement and
promote open e-business process standards. Founded in 1998, RisettaNet aims to align specific
business processes among trading partners by defining and standardizing up to 100 e-business
transaction processes so that two companies' back-end systems can talk directly to each other.
RosettaNet takes its name from the Rosetta stone, which a soldier in Napoleon's army
discovered in Egypt in 1799. Since it contained parallel inscriptions in both Greek characters and
Egyptian hieroglyphics, it provided a key to deciphering ancient Egyptian writing.
This modern electronic translator speaks the contemporary languages of computer interoperability
XML and SOAP
which should allow disparate systems and business processes from different
organizations to understand and exchange data with one another.
The consortium began its Herculean task by looking at supply chain processes. Members used
business-process modeling to identify the elements of a working business process and create a
clearly defined model of current trading partner interfaces. After extensively researching every level
of the supply chain, as well as analyzing misalignments and inefficiencies, they developed a set of
generic, standardized processes that could serve as the basis for real-world business-to-business
These Partner Interface Processes (PIP) are specialized system-to-system, XML-based
dialogues. Each PIP specification includes a business document and a detailed business process
that includes interaction, data transmission, security and error-handling requirements.
PIPs use two data dictionaries
one for business properties and another for technical properties
that help different companies define the same produce in exactly the same way. The Rosettanet
Implementation Framework defines an exchange protocol, and the Message Guidelines instruct
implementers on how to encode individual PIPs into specific packages.
Such efforts at standardizing generic processes have been tried before and failed. RosettaNet,
however, seems more carefully grounded in the real world, and its PIPs are tested by consortium
members. After consortium partners have agreed through a voting process that a PIP meets
industry needs, it is then published on the RosettaNet Web site and is available for anyone to use.
1, invoice ['invɔis]
2, inscriptions [in'skripʃən]
4, misalignment ['misəlainmənt]