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RosettaNet targets standard at SMEs

Malaysia develops new standard to help small and medium-sized enterprises worldwide adopt RosettaNet electronic business standards.

KUALA LUMPUR--RosettaNet Malaysia has developed a standard aimed at encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to automate their procurement processes.

Speaking to reporters at a media briefing here Monday, Foong Heng Huo, director of RosettaNet Malaysia, said the RosettaNet Automated Enablement (RAE) standard reduces the cost and complexity of RosettaNet implementations for SMEs worldwide.

The RAE, with its simpler implementation framework, enables SMEs to participate in the global automated business community at lower costs. The standard is based on ECMA Open XML, supported by industry bigwigs like Apple, Intel, Microsoft and Novell.

"The RosettaNet has been very successful with the big multinational companies, but we've had some issues and difficulties getting [it] down to the SMEs due to cost and technology barriers. The RAE, however, addresses these issues," Foong said.

In Malaysia, the cost of implementing RosettaNet using the previous standard ranges between 5,000 ringgit (US$1,470) and 30,000 ringgit (US$8,823), depending on the size of the operation. It typically takes between three to six months to deploy. However, the RAE will enable companies to pay as they use, as well as embed the standards into existing applications, thereby reducing costs, according to RosettaNet.

"Having proven itself to be a successful standard with large enterprises and multinationals operating in Malaysia, RosettaNet is now moving into its next phase of encouraging local Small Medium Industries (SMIs) to automate their procurement processes," Foong said.

"Open XML opens up exciting opportunities for RAE based solutions, such as its support for custom defined schemas which facilitates wider success of e-commerce, while assuring users of long-term preservation of data.

"Another benefit of Open XML for the SMI community is its capability of storing and managing business data in documents, resulting in lower costs for implementing business process automation that enhances global competitiveness," Foong added.

Highlighting RAE's adoption potential in Malaysia, he said SMEs make up 99.2 percent of total business establishments in the country. "They should take advantage of RAE to further automate their processes, make profitable decisions and accelerate growth," he noted.

RosettaNet is the only business-to-business standard supported by the Malaysian government. Companies can get financial assistance by tapping into the RosettaNet Malaysia Grant amounting to 5 million ringgit (US$1.47 million).

Foong said there are 446 RosettaNet users in Malaysia, three-quarters of which are SMEs, with the majority being high-tech manufacturers and telecommunications companies. With the introduction of RAE, he expects the number to double by the end of 2008.

The new standard also represents a coup of sorts for software giant Microsoft which collaborated with RosettaNet Malaysia to develop the RAE standard.

Foong said the RAE enables SMEs to adopt RosettaNet standards by using their existing Microsoft applications which are widely used by SMEs.

Highlighting Malaysia's central role in creating RosettaNet standards, Dzaharudin Mansor, Microsoft Malaysia's national technology officer, said: "Some of the brightest IT scientists in the world come from Malaysia and, while RosettaNet is world renowned for its instrumental role in e-commerce, what is not widely made known is that all RosettaNet standards are created in Malaysia."

Founded in 1998 in the heart of Silicon Valley, RosettaNet is an independent, non-profit consortium focused on developing open, Internet-based business standards that align processes within the global high-technology trading network. RosettaNet Malaysia was founded in 2002 to assist Malaysian businesses.

Thousands of companies worldwide are said to have implemented RosettaNet standards, with estimated transactions exceeding US$1 trillion.

Lee Min Keong is a freelance IT journalist based in Malaysia.