CommerceNet Launches Catalog Interoperability Study

CommerceNet, the e-commerce industry
association, said it is working with the government and private industry to
create a pilot that will demonstrate the economic benefits and technical
feasibility of interoperable catalogs.

CommerceNet has proposed a study of catalog interoperability for an
electronic procurement system to be used by multiple government agencies.
If successful, the model could be replicated throughout governmental
agencies and private industries.

There are significant repetitive costs when multiple agencies extract the
same information from vendors, CommerceNet said. Not only is this process
costly and time consuming, but also it often eliminates participation by
smaller vendors who do not have the necessary resources to deal with multiple

“The answer is to create interoperable catalogs where several agencies can
access needed information,” said Randall C. Whiting, CommerceNet’s president
and CEO. “Unlike past attempts to create a single catalog design for all
federal catalogs, which limit the flexibility that each agency needs, we want
to build an interoperable framework that independent, proprietary catalogs
can operate and communicate within.”

The CommerceNet study is based on a recommendation that was submitted to the
Federal Electronic Commerce Program Office and the Interagency Acquisition
Internet Council in December. The Study Phase is expected to be completed by
the end of February, with the pilot proposal scheduled to be delivered by the
end of March. The pilot is envisioned to run about four months.

The study and pilot will address general electronic commerce issues relative
to catalog interoperability as well as putting forth a set of security issues
and guidelines.

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