UDDI: A New Proposed Standard Delivers on Promises of the Internet for Businesses of All Sizes

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 6, 2000 — With almost unimaginable speed, e-commerce is transforming the business landscape. Groundbreaking Internet technologies are providing companies with the ability to interact with suppliers, partners, and customers online in real time. These electronic business-to-business relationships are creating incredible opportunities as organizations create powerful new ways to streamline supply chains, automate complex business processes, provide new services and reach new customers. Not since the Industrial Revolution has business faced such momentous or far-reaching change.

But this is a revolution that is still in its earliest stages. While critical technologies are evolving quickly, major barriers remain. The complexity and cost inherent in sharing data over networks and across applications is a significant issue, but it is one that is being rapidly addressed by the advent of new standards and technologies such as extensible markup language (XML) and simple object access protocol (SOAP).

But there is another problem. As the number of companies that offer Web-based services increases exponentially into the millions, how do buyers looking for a specific service find all of the potential sellers who can meet their needs? And once buyer and seller have hooked up, how do they ensure that they can integrate their systems to manage transactions smoothly?

A new specification, called Universal Description, Discovery and Integration, or UDDI, appears to hold the answer. The result of a project initiated by Microsoft, IBM and Ariba, and announced today, UDDI will allow companies to publish information about the Web services they offer in a Universal Business Registry that will be accessible by anyone. If UDDI achieves widespread acceptance, say industry leaders, it will lead to rapid acceleration in the growth of online business-to-business commerce, helping companies of all sizes benefit from the global opportunities offered by the digital revolution.

“We believe there are some components missing that are crucial to allowing all companies to participate the B2B economy,”
said Norman Judah, vice president of Business Development in Microsoft’s Business Applications Division.
“To achieve the kind of fundamental rewiring of the economy that the B2B revolution promises, all companies have to be able to let potential buyers know who they are and what their trading requirements are. Accomplishing that clearly requires a standards-based approach, which is why Microsoft, IBM and Ariba got together to drive development of the first version of UDDI.”

Recognizing the importance of the new standard, a number of leading companies have joined the effort, including Andersen Consulting, Commerce One, Compaq, Internet Capital Group, Great Plains, SAP, Sun Microsystems and VerticalNet. Together, they will help develop and refine the new UDDI specification, and then share in the operation and management of the Universal Business Directory.

“Right now, one of the hardest things to do in the online world is to find out who does what and how to interact with them,”
said Mitch Ruud, director of Business Networks for Great Plains, a North Dakota company that provides e-business financial management solutions that connect more than 130,000 businesses in 132 countries.
“Everybody is talking about the importance and value of electronic interaction, but up to now there hasn’t been a good way to get companies together. UDDI will give companies a way to solve this problem.”

“We’ve done a significant amount of research into the issue of dynamic service discovery,”
said David Ritter, vice president and chief technology officer at VerticalNet, which builds and manages business communities in a wide range of industries spanning more than 8,000 companies.
“We feel that UDDI offers a great chance to achieve critical mass in building a broad marketplace where buyers and sellers can come together. And because Microsoft, IBM, and Ariba are involved, it will help this standard achieve critical mass quickly.”

Beyond the Yellow Pages

In simplest terms, UDDI will be a comprehensive directory of businesses operating in the online world and the Web-based services they offer. Sellers will participate without cost in the UDDI Universal Business Registry by providing contact information, product and service information. Buyers will then be able to search the registry — again, without cost — and locate companies that provide the products or services they need.

Today, conducting a thorough search for vendors and suppliers is highly labor intensive, and in today’s economy where the potential seller of a service may be located almost anywhere in the world, finding every possible vendor is virtually impossible. Existing online directories and marketplaces are a step forward, but they are usually limited by industry or region. The UDDI registry solves the problem by providing one central registry for businesses in any location and industry. In addition, the Universal Business Registry offers sophisticated search parameters that allow buyers to set parameters based on everything from geographic location to business category, service details, and technical product specifications.

But in the world of electronic commerce, knowing that a company offers the services you need is not enough. In many cases, identifying a supplier is only the beginning of the process. Once a company has identified a suitable seller, there is important technical data that must be exchanged before a transaction can be completed.

“A lot of online searching is like using the white pages,”
said Microsoft’s Norman Judah.
“You get an address and a phone number, but you would have to phone or drive to the address and ask them what products they provide. Online marketplaces are more like yellow pages. Not only do you get a phone number, you now have some idea of the product offering — but you still have to go there to find out how to do business. Clearly something much more robust is required.”

According to Microsoft’s James Utzschneider, director of Web Services in Microsoft’s Business Applications Division, that something is a service he calls the UDDI
“green pages,”
which includes important technical information about the formats, standards and technologies that a company uses in conducting online business.

“The registry essentially offers three types of data,”
he explained.
“There is white-page information, such as contact names and addresses; yellow-page data, which are the taxonomies of the types of business; and the green pages, which provide a programmatic description of how to do e-commerce with a company.”

This programmatic description is crucial for companies that seek to take advantage of the inherent power of the Internet to automate business processes. The technical information contained in the Universal Business Registry will, for example, go a long way toward making it possible for a buyer’s purchasing application to integrate with a seller’s fulfillment software to complete a transaction without any human intervention. This will make two of the key promises of the Internet age a reality: simplified business processes and greatly reduced transactions costs.

Competing on an Equal Footing

The Universal Business Registry will also help deliver on another promise of the Internet Age: leveling the playing field between large and small companies. To date, the sheer complexity of integrating proprietary systems and software has meant that the benefits of e-commerce have been enjoyed mostly by large corporations that can afford the investment in manpower that is often required to link partner companies together electronically. And the marketing costs needed to achieve global name recognition have made it extremely difficult for smaller companies to compete on a worldwide bases with established corporations.

Because UDDI treats information provided by all companies that register in exactly the same way, small companies registered in the Universal Business Registry will be able to compete with larger companies on equal footing.

“With UDDI, your choices won’t be limited to the companies that you have heard about,”
said Mike Gioja, vice president of Operations at Internet Capital Group, which has built a network of more than 70 partner companies focused exclusively on e-commerce.
“If you are a tiny company located in a village in France, taking advantage of UDDI means that if someone is looking for a service you offer, your company is just as likely to come up as a huge global corporation with offices in dozens of countries.”

According to David Ritter of VerticalNet, UDDI offers one additional benefit.
“In some ways it’s really a new kind of advertising marketplace that can help establish a presence for sellers with buyers that they would have no other way to reach,”
he explained.
“What that means is the possibility of new incremental business without any incremental costs.”

Or, to put it another way, UDDI offers companies the chance to increase sales without spending additional money for marketing, management or manpower. And for business, that, ultimately, is the greatest promise of the Internet revolution.

What Leading Companies are Saying about Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) :

“Andersen Consulting is delighted to be part of this initiative, as we consider UDDI crucial for our clients,”
said Glover Ferguson, Andersen Consulting’s chief scientist.
“The ability to interact with suppliers, partners and customers online in real time is essential. The emerging Web services model holds great potential for improving the effectiveness of B2B commerce, and we believe UDDI to be an important enabler in making this a reality. We see UDDI improving the efficiency of the Web services marketplace through streamlining the process of identifying and establishing business partnering relationships. Our participation will enable us to bring our broad B2B process and industry perspective to the standards process as well as provide us the opportunity to share the latest developments in this important commerce standard with our clients. We feel that UDDI represents a major next step in the digital revolution.”

B2B eCommerce has seen rapid global adoption due to its ability to deliver unprecedented fast time to value, but this success has been uneven as marketplaces, buyers, suppliers and commerce service providers often must reinvent integration methodologies for their various trading partners,” said Larry Mueller, president and chief operating officer for Ariba. “In order for B2B to scale to universal adoption and the now-famous trillion-dollar projections given by analysts, it’s time for the industry to build on its early successes and collaborate on interoperability.”

“As one of the pioneers of the Web services movement, Bowstreet intends to be very active as an advisor to the UDDI initiative. Standards like UDDI and DSML will accelerate the adoption of Web services and plug-and-play e-commerce, which is central to the dramatic technology and business transformation our economy is undergoing,” said Bob Crowley, CEO of Bowstreet. “UDDI should expand the inventory of business-level Web services available to our customers, and Bowstreet’s automation technology, the Business Web Factory, will be there to automate the assembly of those and other Web services into dynamic and fluid business Webs.”

“The importance of developing common technology standards across industries cannot be understated,” said Jay Singleton, IT unit application integration manager for Cargill. “We face a situation now similar to the emergence of the railroads, when despite hundreds of miles of railroad tracks, it was difficult to get product across country because the tracks were different widths and one company’s would not connect to another’s. We think the UDDI has a realistic chance of becoming the accepted technology standard that really allows B2B e-commerce to happen seamlessly.”

“As a leader in providing open and interoperable B2B solutions, Clarus embraces UDDI as a standard that validates our business model,”
said Steve Hornyak, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Clarus. We look forward to continued participation in this initiative to ensure that business-to-business integration and commerce on the Internet becomes even more seamless.

“UDDI has the potential to accelerate the delivery of a wide variety of business services across the Global Trading Web,”
said Chuck Donchess, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Commerce One.
“The primary beneficiaries of such open standards will be buyers, sellers and Net market makers, who will be able to take advantage of new services and trading relationships on a global basis. As a leader in XML standards, we anticipate that Commerce One will play a key role in the development of the UDDI specification.”

“CommerceQuest supports the value proposition UDDI enables by providing a critcal missing link in open standards for B2B over the Internet,” said Colin Osborne, chairman of CommerceQuest. “Implementations of the UDDI specification will increase the speed at which CommerceQuest continues to satisy the tremendous demand for business process integration and collaboration among trading partners and communities of trade.”

“UDDI will be a key facilitator for the next wave of business-to-business commerce over the Internet,”
says Rick Fricchione, vice president, Applications & Internet Technologies, Compaq Global Services.
“By helping to standardize the way that Web services are presented on the Internet, both B2B exchanges and individual businesses will benefit from faster and easier deployment of e-commerce solutions and increase the breadth and depth of customers they are able to reach.”

“As an e-business integration platform provider, CrossWorlds has always been committed to open technology standards, and we’re pleased to be an integral part of an important standards organization such as UDDI,” said Fred Amoroso, president and CEO of CrossWorlds Software. “Through the standards we develop together, companies around the world will be able to more rapidly deploy e-commerce solutions over the Internet.”

“Open standards and industry cooperation are essential to ensuring a dynamic B2B e-commerce community and to extending the value of the Internet to our customers, who long have enjoyed the benefits of standards-based computing,” said Frank Muehleman, senior vice president and general manager of the Home and Small Business Group at Dell. “We are pleased to particpate in an effort that will continue to drive benefits for our customers and help them maximize the vast potential of the Internet as a primary business process tool.”

“We are pleased to participate in the UDDI Advisory Council, contributing our expertise in B2B integration and messaging standards,” said Art Mesher, executive vice president. “The UDDI standards will have a significant impact on the speed at which Descartes customers can leverage Descartes’ Global Logistics Network to find new suppliers, logistics service providers and customers. It will also accelerate the deployment of Descartes’ logistics applications and services to Net markets, logistics service providers, global enterprises and other organizations over the Global Logistics Network.”

“UDDI is exciting. We believe the potential benefits to both users and providers of Web-based B2B services could be significant,” said Greg Olsen, CTO of Extricity. “UDDI has the potential to create a new class of B2B services and to make viable a new set of business models. Customers of our B2B software products could gain leverage and benefits from an UDDI infrastructure by having access to volumes of B2B-enabled businesses around the world. We’re pleased that IBM, Ariba and Microsoft initiated this effort and to participate in an advisory role in this initiative.”

“Fujitsu Limited is pleased to help lead Japanese participation in this vital B2B standards effort,” said Junji Maeyama, senior vice president of Fujitsu Limited. “We expect that UDDI registries and the emphasis on B2B standards will play a significant role in the integration of Internet businesses in Japan. We will provide our innovative Internet technologies and our leadership in the Japanese marketplace to the UDDI Project to assist in the evolution of this important Internet collaboration.”

“The UDDI standard initiative is a necessary move for e-business as a whole, because it facilitates the creation of interconnected business relationships,”
said Lynne Stockstad, vice president of e-business at Great Plains.
“As a result, Great Plains will further help customers expand their business opportunities and become even more competitive through faster, easier and extended business processes between trading partners. We are excited to be a part of this effort.”

“i2’s TradeMatrix services are used by public and private b2b marketplaces throughout the world,” said Jim Mackay, CTO for i2. “Discovering and leveraging these services is critical to success in an open market environment. UDDI has the potential to be the universally accepted way of doing that.”

“The UDDI project is an example of the inclusiveness and cooperation needed to drive greater efficiencies in e-business transactions and integration through open standards,” said John Swainson, general manager of the Application and Integration Middleware Division at IBM. “In addition, we expect the UDDI Business Registry will become an important part of the Internet’s infrastructure as we move to the next generation of e-business.”

“The UDDI registry is the first step in better connecting all buyers and suppliers on the Internet and is essential to the proliferation of B2B e-commerce, as it enables the definition and discovery of marketplace services across geographic, size and technologic boundaries,” said Sam Jadallah, managing director for ICG. “ICG is joining the other major industry players to accelerate the adoption of B2B e-commerce and enable businesses to more quickly realize the permanent benefits of speed, efficiency and productivity created by the Internet.”

“UDDI is right in line with our vision of our eServices Directory, which simplifies linking eServices and application service providers with businesses worldwide,” said In Sik Rhee, co-founder and vice president of research at Loudcloud. “Loudcloud is actively participating in the UDDI Advisory Committee. We are excited to be a part of the group that is helping define the UDDI initiative.”

“We share the UDDI project’s philosophy of opening up the Web to a greater level of participation by businesses of all sizes. match21 is honored to be a member of the UDDI Advisory Group and to help create open standards for B2B e-commerce,” said Daniel Lubetzky, CEO of match21. “This alliance with IBM has enabled us to provide portals with the back-end technology to transform its sites into dynamic B2B marketplaces. match21 is committed to effectively uniting buyers and sellers on the Internet and looks forward to working with industry leaders such as IBM, Microsoft and Ariba to help grow businesses that rely on B2B e-commerce.”

“The UDDI initiative has a bold premise: Fundamentally changing how companies and systems communicate with each other through self-describing interfaces,” said John McKinley, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Merrill Lynch. “With the support of such powerful founding partners, this effort represents the ability for businesses to help decide the next generation of e-commerce.”

“By providing a lingua franca for business-to-business commerce, the UDDI Project will make business integration faster, cheaper and easier,” said Paul Maritz, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft. “By making it easy to describe, find and use Web services, UDDI offers the foundation to take Internet commerce to the next level.”

“Nortel Networks is e-enabling businesses and empowering them with the high-performance Internet infrastructure and applications required to win in the communications-intensive Second wave of eBusiness,” said Danny Murdock, vice president of eBusiness Solutions at Nortel. “We are proud to join our industry partners in defining a standard that will speed the ability of companies to collaborate with each other in the new Internet economy. Today’s announcement confirms our commitment to open standards that make it simpler and faster for companies to drive value through the new economic models enabled by the Internet.”

“As a long-time proponent of standards in the software industry, we welcome the UUDI initiative as another means to drive open standards for electronic commerce,” said Mike Devlin, co-founder and CEO of Rational Software. “We believe UUDI will facilitate the integration of business process in the Web services model across the markets we address: e-infrastructure, e-devices and e-business, all of which are trying to build better software faster and with higher quality. As we’ve done throughout our history, Rational will help drive the development of this important Internet standard.”

“As a leader in digital identity services, RealNames is very pleased to play a pivotal role in the UDDI standard initiative,”
said Keith Teare, CEO of RealNames Corporation.

To be effective, the UDDI service registry requires a neutral third party — that can establish ‘trusted identity.’ We’re happy to contribute our hands-on experience with naming policies and dispute resolution to this ongoing effort.

Because of our strong relationships with major browser vendors and search engines, we’re in a unique position to accelerate adoption of UDDI by consumers and businesses. In fact, RealNames is already operating a scaleable navigation platform worldwide, and is committed to becoming a front-end to UDDI discovery services.

“We view UDDI as a natural partner to our current effort within the IETF to develop a Common Name Resolution Protocol (CNRP). As a member of the UDDI working group, we look forward to shaping such a critical standard for the Internet industry as a whole.”

“Cooperation and leadership on standards within the information technology industry are critical to the future growth of e-business,” said R. Craig Murphy, chief technology officer for Sabre. “Sabre is pleased to participate on the UDDI team, and we look forward to the future development in this area.”

“SAP is proud to be a core member of the UDDI initiative,” said Heinz Roggenkemper, executive vice president of SAP Labs. “This initiative is in synch with the vision of mySAP.com. A standards based business and service directory is a fundamental building block for e-business collaboration. In addition, we are excited about the endless possibilities for our customers in greatly enhancing the visibility of their Internet services, as well as increasing overall business opportunities.”

“Sun has always worked to help establish and support open, standards-based technologies that facilitate the growth of network-based applications, and we see UDDI as an important project to establish a registry framework for business-to-business e-commerce,” said George Paolini, vice president of Java A Community Development at Sun. “As one of the primary contributors to the development of XML, Sun supports the planned use of this emerging standard as the data foundation for the registry. We also applaud the UDDI project’s stated intent to have the registry support services integrate with a wide set of existing core Internet technologies, such as Java, Jini , CORBA, RMI and HTML. Sun is looking forward to participating with all the UDDI member companies to create a truly open technology that helps companies take advantage of the power of the Internet for their business-to-business commerce.”

“We believe UDDI will be a key standard for directory-enabled networks in B2B applications,” said Fred Meyer, chief marketing officer of TIBCO Software. “Without this standard it will be impossible to capture the full value of the B2B investments being made today. We look forward to being a part of the development of this important Internet standard.”

“Ventro is a proponent of open standards for business-to-business e-commerce, and the formation of UDDI is a positive development for the industry that will help to accelerate the adoption of B2B e-commerce,” said Pierre Samec, chief technology strategist for Ventro. “It’s essential that businesses can easily integrate with Ventro’s marketplaces and quickly realize the benefits of the wide range of services that we offer to customers and suppliers as part of our complete marketplace solution. We look forward to working closely with this group to continue to promote and develop standards that enable companies across numerous industries to rapidly participate in B2B e-commerce.”

“As online business-to-business communities proliferate, the verification of individuals’ identities, their purchasing privileges and their companies’ profiles have grown in importance,”
said Anil Pereira, senior vice president of the Internet Services group for VeriSign.
“We applaud this cross-industry initiative and look forward to helping define the UDDI specifications which will accelerate trusted e-commerce, enabling businesses and individuals to conduct high-value transactions with confidence over the Internet.”

“Versata is delighted to join IBM, Microsoft and Ariba is supporting the UDDI standard,” said Mike Devries, vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Versata. “By providing a standard mechanism for the description, discovery and integration of Web services, UDDI increases the opportunity for Versata customers to automate e-business transactions on the Web.”

“Versata is delighted to join IBM, Microsoft and Ariba is supporting the UDDI standard,” said Mike Devries, vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Versata. “By providing a standard mechanism for the description, discovery and integration of Web services, UDDI increases the opportunity for Versata customers to automate e-business transactions on the Web.”

“As a leading aggregator of marketplace services, VerticalNet is excited to help establish UDDI as the standard for dynamic service discovery in B2B commerce. We look forward to working closely with other UDDI partners to shape the direction of this important initiative. The UDDI Registry will be the first service marketplace with sufficient support from service providers and service consumers to achieve liquidity, providing the foundation for truly dynamic marketplaces,”
said David Ritter, chief technology officer at VerticalNet, Inc.
“Through UDDI, VerticalNet will bring significant additional value to our marketplace suppliers, buyers and platform partners. The UDDI Registry allows participants to dynamically discover and access our rich commerce, content, community and collaboration services, connecting buyers and market makers to our rapidly growing base of over 8,000 suppliers. Our Business Network Architecture with its integral support of BizTalk allows VerticalNet to rapidly deploy new UDDI services on behalf of our customers.”

“To realize the true promise of B2B, companies must have a cost-effective, rapid method for connecting buyers, suppliers and partners in dynamic trading networks,” said Kristin Weller, vice president of Product Development, B2B at WebMethods. “WebMethods B2Bi solutions are built using the open standards of the Internet, so that companies can transact business over the Internet without having to standardize their trading partners on one technology. The UDDI standard is another step in providing businesses, of all sizes, with an open standard on which to build their B2B e-commerce initiatives. We are pleased to contribute our expertise in developing open B2B solutions to the UDDI Project.”

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