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OASIS and RosettaNet Set Standards Alliance

Cementing their casual relationship, industry standards consortia, OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) and RosettaNet Tuesday said they are now working in tangent to streamline Web services specifications for supply chain companies.

The groups actively participate in the technical work of the other but say the partnership (dubbed the "Standards Development-to-Implementation Alliance") is a chance to advance e-business standards without having to do double the work.

"The two groups have always worked informally together. What this does is clarify our work on complex long-lived processes," RosettaNet Vice President of Standards Management Paul Tearnen told "We're in the process of looking at both organization's roadmaps and finding out where does it make sense for RosettaNet to lead and where does it make sense for OASIS to lead. On a technological level, RosettaNet may move a little faster, but it will always keep in mind what OASIS is doing and make sure that the technologies will be compatible."

The Santa Ana, Calif.-based non-profit and subsidiary of the Uniform Code Council (UCC) is also focused on building a master dictionary to define properties for products, partners, and business transactions.

Under the new partnership for example, RosettaNet can use standards developed by OASIS, such as ebXML and the Universal Business Language (UBL) , to create processes at a content level. OASIS, in turn, said it will look to RosettaNet for domain-specific input to make sure universal standards within and between industries are relevant.

As a first step, RosettaNet has jumped onboard the OASIS Electronic Procurement Standardization (EPS) Technical Committee. The group provides a forum for government agencies, organizations, and companies to guide the coordinated development of global e-procurement standards. The committee is working to analyze requirements for electronic procurement processes, identify gaps, and recommend new standards as needed.

OASIS has already done some major work in this area. The Boston-based non-profit, international consortium creates interoperable industry specifications based on public standards such as XML and SGML. Last week, the group announced that it is working to create a language that would help intrusion detection products and firewalls communicate during security attacks.

In addition to the OASIS EPS Technical Committee, RosettaNet representatives contribute to the OASIS UBL Technical Committee. RosettaNet is also using the binary collaboration portion of BPSS, initially developed by OASIS, in its PIP specification format.

The groups say possible areas for future collaboration and cross participation are messaging services, advanced business process descriptions, constraint representation, document presentation, repository and meta data standards.

Some analysts are hoping as the OASIS specs migrate increasingly towards Web Services-centric implementations, it will pull the RosettaNet specs in that direction as well.

"The only cautionary note is that it's not clear how Web Services specs (such as SOAP, WSDL, and the UDDI as well as the security and reliability specs) fit in to the picture," ZapThink Senior Analyst Ronald Schmelzer told "It's interesting to note, in addition, that the WS-I wasn't involved in this standards convergence effort, which is their main purview as well."

"Business owners are looking for clarity and for things to come together into single solutions and so having multiple solutions in a particular technology area does no good," Tearnen said. "This is a natural shakeout in a technology space where you have different organizations working on different pieces so that you'll never have a single organization doing all the work. Instead, we can divide and conquer."

Tearnen said the alliance is hoping to attract other groups and should start seeing the fruits of its combined efforts later this year.