About B2B Standards

Gone are the days of the yore when the word of mouth was everything and major deals were done by verbal agreements. Nowadays businesses have become a complex phenomena involving lot of documentation and paperwork more so in deals involving cross border transactions and negotiations such as import/export and global sourcing and such an exchange of documents is of immense importance in B2B or business to business transactions.

In the earlier days EDI or electronic data exchange was used to exchange documents in B2B or business to business deals whether they were import/export, local or global sourcing transactions. But EDI presented some drawbacks in exchanging messages and documents for B2B or business to business deals for import/export and global sourcing purposes. Although technically speaking EDI was a robust technology but it presented implementation challenges such as huge finances required for setting up proprietary networks and so forth. This was only possible for huge organisations and hence was finding slow acceptance in firms involved in B2B or business to business transactions in form of import/export and global sourcing deals.

Several alternatives were suggested, implemented to overcome these difficulties in carrying out import/export and global sourcing deals of B2B or business to business type, and these efforts included setting up of business exchanges but this also led to confusion and fragmentation in the later stages due to different types of networks since there was not standardized format of information exchange to each network had its own format.

Obviously the solution to this problem lay in the implementation of a common standard for such networks so that members of different networks could communicate with each other which would not only solve the communication problem but also it would provide a method to overcome the limitations hindering the expansion of import/export and global sourcing deals in the B2B or business to business transactions.

Several B2B or business to business standards have emerged since then, and these have been developed by various organisations to aid import/export and global sourcing deals. These B2B or business to business standards deal with different areas of the B2B business processes. The details of these standards are too elaborate to be discussed here but will be discussed briefly in other articles but at this stage it would be sufficient to know that most of these B2B or business to business standards are based on XML and Internet standards. The users of these B2B or business to business standards have ample choice for choosing whichever standard is useful for their import/export and global sourcing deals.