Inovis Incorporates XML Standard into its Software and Services Portfolio to Support Cross-Industry Interoperability in Exchanging Business Data

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Inovis, a leading provider of on-demand Business Community Management solutions, has adopted the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12's Context Inspired Component Architecture (CICA) standard to further expand the adoption of multienterprise data exchange capabilities. The standard has been developed to promote the use of XML and to guarantee interoperability for the exchange of business messages across global business communities. Inovis will incorporate the CICA standard in its business community management portfolio, including its software family, the Inovisworks(TM) value added network and Inovis Catalogue(TM) platform for the synchronization of product data.

B2B Integration Trends: Message Formats

    "Inovis is a forerunner in the adoption of the X12 XML schema and has been a major contributor to ASC X12's strategic direction," said ASC X12 Chair Daniel I. Kazzaz.

"As a company with firm roots in the development of EDI and its supporting standards, Inovis has always supported cross-industry frameworks for interoperability in the automation of data exchange that sets the stage for higher-value applications," said Jonathan Gatrell, Vice President of Industry Development and Standards for Inovis and chair of the X12 Marketing Task Group.

The Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ASC X12), accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is approaching its 30th year of building electronic business messages. While EDI has been the engine of significant e-business growth, EDI message structures can be complex. The use of a variety of XML formats is growing, but companies must continue to support multiple formats for exchanging data and aligning business processes with trading partners. Specifically, the CICA architecture and the ASC X12 organization provide a single approach to business message development that:

-- facilitates a common reusable vocabulary across multiple industries;

-- creates an environment for convergence with other standards organizations, industry associations or data content committees;

-- serves as a foundation to protect investment in business content development by creating a reusable common structure that can be expressed in a variety of syntaxes, for example, XML schema, industry specific implementation guides, ASC X12 EDI transaction sets or future markup languages;

-- provides a more flexible and adaptable structure for messaging -- instead of sending multiple messages in one transaction, CICA documents contain only the data necessary for the specific business processes that are being linked between business partners; and

-- provides a mature environment to protect and enhance a company's investment in electronic business-to-business data exchange.

Finally, in most business communities companies must interact with organizations from a variety of industries or sectors, including government agencies. With significant contributions from companies and individuals from the Finance, Government, Transportation, Supply Chain, Health Care and Insurance industries, adopters of the cross-industry CICA standard can simplify overall support and ensure greater interoperability across heterogeneous business communities.

In a July 6, 2007 Forrester Research report titled, "B2B Integration Trends: Message Formats," Ken Vollmer wrote that "EDI technology gained wide acceptance by providing basic electronic document exchange capability that was crucial to enterprises in many sectors. This technology was well suited to dealing with highly structured data that did not change frequently. However, today's B2B scenarios require more flexibility, especially when dealing with growing demands for support for process improvement efforts across the entire value chain. This is leading to increased adoption of multiple XML-based B2B options. Enterprise architects should strive to create a B2B support infrastructure that is designed to take advantage of both old and new technology, as each can provide unique value in meeting the full range of external integration needs."

ASC X12 members have developed easy-to-access reusable CICA components that can be assembled in multiple combinations to construct data exchange standards for multiple industries. To date, ASC X12 members have approved and published numerous finance, government, insurance, and transportation-related X12 XML message schemas, based on CICA, covering such business processes/documents as invoice detail and status, shipment status, small package status, insurance coverage request and response, and many others.

While X12 CICA messages ("documents") can currently be expressed as XML, CICA's syntax-neutral architecture will in the future support new markup languages and other interchange standards not yet used or developed in today's business operations.

For details on how to get involved in ASC X12's CICA message development, visit http://www.X12.org. For more information on Inovis and its business community management solutions, visit http://www.inovis.com.

About ASC X12

The Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12, chartered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1979, develops electronic data interchange (EDI) standards and related documents for national and global markets. With more than 315 X12 EDI standards and a growing collection of X12 XML schemas, ASC X12 enhances business processes, reduces costs and expands organizational reach. ASC X12's diverse member base includes 3,000+ standards experts representing over 330 companies from multiple business domains. To learn more about ASC X12 and how to participate in its vital standards-setting role for health care, insurance, transportation, finance, government and many other industries, visit http://www.X12.org or call 703-970-4480.

About Inovis

Inovis is a leading provider of on-demand Business Community Management solutions that empower companies to transact, collaborate and optimize communications with their entire trading community. By standardizing and automating mission-critical business interactions, companies can dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of supply chain communication. This foundation of high-quality, reliable and secure connectivity provides real-time visibility across the order-to-payment lifecycle. The resulting actionable intelligence enables users to proactively address supply chain issues before they impact profitability, shortening cycle times, improving productivity and increasing customer satisfaction.

With more than 20 years of expertise, Inovis delivers its products and services to more than 20,000 companies over a wide range of industries and markets across the globe. For more information, visit http://www.inovis.com.

Inovis is a trademark of Inovis, Inc.

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David Fontaine
Inovis
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