As much as XML has been much
vaunted recently, the key is to get everyone
on the same page - making collaboration work
in real life rather than only previously in flow
charts and presentations.
we standardize, the more flexible we can
Early Egyptologists had long searched for the
key to interpreting the ancient writings that
had stood the test of time. All their attempts
at deciphering the hieroglyphics were pure guesses
until the discovery of the Rosetta stone.
The stone allowed the historians to put together
the elements of Egyptian literature with a measure
of certainty - it provided a standard to refer
Judging from its choice of name, the founders
intend to do just that - create an XML standard
for companies to communicate with.
The consortium already consists a number of
heavy-weights, including chip manufacturer Intel,
direct-sales proponent Dell, and various others
that benefit from an environment that is truly
collaborative with their partners, suppliers
and clients. The collaboration spans the IT,
electronic components industries and not a few
supply chain players.
Needless to say, the potential of XML (eXtensible
markup language) has been expounded
upon tirelessly in recent months. Not at
all surprising, since the new language allows
and interoperability that previously only
existed in flow-charts and presentations.
The aim of RosettaNet is to transform the supply
chain from a linear environment to a more dynamic
One of the major influences for this collective
push was the collation of several industry trends,
most notably, competitive pressure to achieve
"The more we standardize, the more flexible
we can be," said Steven Yeo, vice-president
of RosettaNet Singapore.
Having a more dynamic supply chain structure
would allow companies to cater to more types
At the very core of the RosettaNet system, is
the usage of Partner Interface Processes (PIPs).
The purpose of each PIP is to provide a common
business or data models between businesses, to
enable them to "talk" to one another.
Each PIP contains parameters that have been
developed by recognizing the needs of the industry,
allowing individual corporations to communicate
seamlessly with one another.
For example, PIP 2A1 specifies processes for
distributing new product information to buyers,
enabling enterprise systems to accept product
orders, and to help populate buyers' online sales
catalogs - all without human intervention.
Other PIPs allows corporations to update product
information dynamically, manage purchase orders,
query product availability, and bill each other,
as well as other business and technological processes.
PIPs can cost a corporation anywhere from US$100,000
each to US$1 million for two to three PIPs, depending
on the functionality. Though some PIP clusters
are ready for implementation, others are still
being worked on.
The challenge of the PIP development process
is for the consortium coming to a common agreement.
"They are going to be some business processes
that are going to have to change," said
a representative of the consortium, pointing
out that it was a small sacrifice towards the
end result of getting more customers.
Already companies like Intel and Motorola have
embraced the standard wholeheartedly, and have
been reported to ensure that all their suppliers
adopt the same standard.
At the end of the day, RosettaNet's objective
is to try to "streamline business processes
and open them up to their external business partners,"
says John Soh, sales director for Sterling Commerce,
one of the key integrators for RosettaNet in
Already, companies are already in the process of re-thinking
their processes, said Soh.
Sterling Commerce, has been in business since
1974, and has at present the core competency
of enabling other companies to do e-business.
RosettaNet presently plays a rather prominent
role in Sterling Commerce's business, according
to Gerry Fosnick, manager for Sterling Commerce's e-business
solutions division in the Asia Pacific office.
The company also provides
consultation and integration services for clients
who are interested in adopting the RosettaNet
Sterling sells their Gentran server XML module as an option
for companies that depend on collaboration via
XML to do business.
The server provided data translation capabilities
as well intelligent routing of data and documents.
The aim of the Gentran server was to create
a homogenous processing and data management environment,
regardless of the format of incoming or outgoing
The system enabled translation from one XML
format to another totally different XML format,
or even to EDI (electronic data interchange standard)
and other proprietary formats.
The latest offering of Sterling's is an upgrade
of the previous Gentran server, built with RosettaNet
implementation on top of the existing system, allowing
the server to continue their traditional e-business
processes while directly mapping RosettaNet schemas
in order to do business along that standard.
Already, Sterling has helped to implement the
Gentran RosettaNet server at Kyocera Corp. in
Kyoto, Japan earlier in October this year.
The electronic components corporation has tested
and implemented the server for use with one of
their partners, using PIPs to manage purchase
orders and notify order acceptances.
Future phases will see the company adopt more
partners and aim towards collaborative forecasting,
inventory reporting, inventory allocation, and
inventory replenishment using PIPs.
The implementation was reported to take all
of five days, with transactions taking place
by day three.
At the moment, RosettaNet has a presence in
the US, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. Plans are
being made to be physically present in Korea,
as well as Australia and China.
A competency center is also being planned to
be set up in Singapore, with a partnership being
discussed with the Infocomm Development Authority
of Singapore (IDA).