Microsoft and Tradeshift - one step nearer to a universal business language

I sometimes wonder why I bother investing my time and energy in developing standards for eBusiness.


The returns seem so tenuous.  The challenges are complex and the frustrations irritating.


I am not surprised that so many talented people lose patience and stop spending their time in endless teleconferences, reading unfathomable reports or dealing with childish egos and power politics.


Then once in a while, a glimpse of the light at the end of tunnel appears and my faith is restored.


I saw that light last week when I read that Microsoft has partnered with Tradeshift to give customers of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 a pre-built integration to the Tradeshift e-invoicing solution.


This was goods news for Microsoft and Tradeshift and more importantly goods news for users of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016.  And it was also good news for the UBL community.


Universal Business Language (UBL) version 2.1 is the XML format that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 uses to exchange documents between users and their trading partners. In fact Microsoft Dynamics partners such as Dycode and Unimaze have been providing UBL integration tools for Microsoft Dynamics NAV for some time.


The partnering with Tradeshift is one of the first examples in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 using its new e-service approach to automating processes like invoicing.


Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016’s integration is based on the PEPPOL standards (a subset of UBL document types) so users can integrate easily into the PEPPOL pan-European electronic invoicing platform. 


The strategic choice of UBL by two of the leading players in the business cloud and ERP area emphasizes that market forces drive standardization – not committees.  I am especially pleased that these solutions are for small and medium sized enterprises.  These organizations are too often the forgotten link in the electronic trading community.


If we are to ever have a global language for eBusiness (in the same way as HTML is the global language for the Web) it will emerge by traction – common usage.  There are those who refuse to believe this and insist they have to sanction the standards everybody must use.  Despite the obvious lack of evidence to support this these arguments persist.  The results speak for themselves.


The growing use of UBL demonstrates that if a solution works and has significant adoption then it is deemed a worthy standard and adoption will accelerate.


On days like these I feel satisfied that common sense still exists and we are one step closer to the light – towards a universal business language. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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