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Uniform Code Council, RosettaNet Merge

Monday saw the marriage of two international standards councils as the Uniform Code Council (UCC) joined hands with RosettaNet.

In the merger, the purpose of which is to bolster the development of B2B standards, Santa Ana, Calif.'s RosettaNet will become a subsidiary of Lawrenceville, N.J.'s UCC, while continuing to operate as an entity with its members. For the bodies, the marriage consummates four years of working together.

In a compromise to etch global standards to facilitate commerce over the Internet using a singular architecture based on the all-important XML language, the organizations hope that they will better drive joint development of B2B standards supporting multiple industries.

Ultimately, they said, the union will increase and speed up implementations across user communities. Specifically, the united front will tackle such standards initiatives as supply chain interoperability, which they believe will be driven by the proliferation of business processes supported by software vendors. The groups see supply chain integration across global trading networks in the future.

With standards groups often at odds about how to go about the business of crafting relevant architectures, one analyst said the groups' union is a sign of maturation in the industry.

"The alignment of UCC and RosettaNet is indicative of a maturation in standards development organizations working together to facilitate the ease and speed of standards implementation for the broadest set of industry "user" communities," said Hollis Bischoff, Vice President, e-business Strategies at META Group. "The UCC and RosettaNet are addressing the market demand for streamlined standards initiatives that reduce confusion and quickly respond to industry needs."

Creators of the Universal Product Code (U.P.C.), which allows businesses to put bar codes on its products to identify and track them before and after they are sold, the not-for-profit UCC provides integrated standards for more than 260,000 companies doing business in 23 major industries.

RosettaNet's focus is much more high-tech in nature. Founded in 1998 and featuring such key members as IBM, Microsoft, and American Express, RosettaNet is a non-profit consortium dedicated to the development of standard e-commerce interfaces to align the processes between IT supply chain partners on a global basis.

While human B2B exchange is marked by the human language and communication, the same is intended for B2B over the internet, but while humans communicate through English of French, a common language is needed for computer systems all over the world to do business.

RosettaNet fills this gap by focusing on building a master dictionary to define properties for products, partners, and business transactions. This master dictionary, coupled with an established implementation framework (exchange protocols), is used to support the e-business dialog known as the Partner Interface Process or PIP. A RosettaNet PIP is an XML specification designed to align a specific business process between supply chain partners. RosettaNet PIPs create new areas of alignment within the overall IT supply-chain e-business processes, allowing IT partners to scale e-business, and to fully leverage e-commerce applications and the Internet.

"Our work with the UCC is about moving industries forward, in terms of optimizing supply chain efficiency," said Jennifer Hamilton, CEO of RosettaNet. "RosettaNet will continue its momentum in the high technology industry, while we seek opportunities to serve adjacent markets and expand our value-added service offerings, particularly in the areas of training and interoperability. We are pleased to join the UCC and excited about the future collaboration and related potential for growth and expansion."