Oasis Pushes Global E-procurement Standardization

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information
(OASIS) consortium has created a forum for government agencies,
organizations, and private companies to work together on global
e-procurement standards.

The new Electronic Procurement Standardization (EPS) Technical Committee
will analyze requirements, identify gaps, and make recommendations for
improving the interoperability of XML, internet based e-procurement systems.

Other EPS participants include the Institute for Supply Management,
Information Society Standardization System of the European Standards
Committee (CEN/ISSS), US National Institute for Governmental Purchasing
(NIGP), US National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO),
RosettaNet, and Seebeyond.

Terri Tracey of the Institute for Supply Management will chair the new
committee. “We are already hearing from other organizations that are
interested in joining,” she said.

Patrick Gannon, Oasis president and CEO, said input from government and
industry is essential to ensure that new e-procurement specifications are
neutral and effective.

John Ketchell, CEN/ISSS director, said his
organization joined the EPS to foster consensus between emerging global
standards and regional European requirements. He also said CEN/ISSS plans
to start an e-procurement project to complement European legislative
initiatives designed to harmonize public e-procurement across EU member

Rob Rosenthal, senior analyst with IDC in Framingham, Mass., saw the
announcement as a positive development, but said no one should expect a
universal standard for e-procurement any time soon.

“Procurement has always been a big part of e-commerce,” said Rosenthal, “but it goes back at least
twenty five years with EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and there are as
many EDI standards as there are companies with connections.”

Rosenthal also noted that there is an entrenched industry built around
getting different e-procurement systems to talk to each other. “Companies
like GXS and Sterling do this for a living,” said Rosenthal. “Global
standards for e-procurement are certainly a good idea, but I think we will
first see this in specific sectors, state and federal agencies, for

Tracey admitted the embedded EDI community has slowed the adoption of XML- and
Internet-based trading communities. “There are still some 800 LB gorillas
out there,” said Tracey. “If you are a supplier to Wal-Mart, you will
probably do whatever Wal-Mart says.”

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