As I mentioned last visit, I was heading West, but I was thinking along the lines of Kansas-West. As it turns out, here I am in San Francisco. On my flight out, I spent way too much time in the Dallas airport waiting for my outbound flight, but at least I was able to get online and check mail and do a little web-diving. Unfortunately, a couple of my mail messages sent me into depression as I read what some of our industry associates are trying to pull.
Standards? What standards?
If your company is using EDI, you're operating within a standard, right? I know... it's a standard with more exceptions than the tax code, but it's a standard. Complicated? You know it! Detailed? It's the nature of the environment! Time consuming? That's what you get paid to do! And even if you don't like it, you're using it because your trading partners are using it, and their trading partners are using it, and on, and on. Like the tax code, changing the EDI standard is painful and difficult because there are so many constituents with vested interests.
But even with all its faults, the fact is that 80% of the eCommerce transactions in the US are conducted via EDI, and nearly 50% of the world's eCommerce uses this arcane methodology. So when I get press releases like the one I got from JP Morgan Chase about their "complete on-demand service for business-to-business commerce" I have to wonder what the motives are, and how they expect a proprietary system to replace a global standard.
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 10, 2005--JPMorgan Chase, a full-service provider of cash management, trade finance, and treasury solutions, today announced that pharmaceuticals and related health care products company Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY - News) has consolidated its global Internet-based accounts payables processing onto the JPMorgan Chase Order-to-Pay Service, powered by Xign. With this solution, Bristol-Myers Squibb automates electronic purchase order delivery, invoicing, and payments across more than 6,000 global suppliers.
Are Bristol-Myers Squibb's 6,000 global suppliers now forced to operate two eCommerce systems? Maybe they should just drop all their other customers and only work with Bristol-Myers?
A quick look at Xing's investor list looks pretty impressive; Charles Schwab, Martrix Partners, Charles River, and a few others. Charles Schwab himself is quoted in the company's web page says the solution, "has the potential to completely change the way business payments are made." Powerful stuff!
But I've seen this before, and as I was sitting in my favorite San Francisco tacky-spot, Louis Restaurant at Seal Rock, I flashed back to days when I came here in the late 90's, when the venture capital boys were flush and could do no wrong. Do you remember CommerceOne, Ariba, and viaLink? They all had proprietary eCommerce systems created during fits of brilliance funded by "unbridled exuberance." I think the venture cap companies are getting ants in their pants, and itching for the old days.
Are you supporting EDI and one or more proprietary eCommerce systems? Who's asking you to do that? Tell me about it.