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Stages in Development of EDI
Only 8,000 firms in U.S. actively using EDI; 800 in Canada; still fewer in other parts of the world, Congress is told.
The forces driving and guiding the growth and development of electronic data interchange vary by global region and by nation, speakers from several countries told an EDI users' conference in San Francisco in July.
Business needs are the chief impetus in some areas, government dicta are the propellant in others and the driving forces differ by industry among the former, said experts who spoke during the final two days of the second annual International Congress of EDI Users, held July 16-18.
Speakers throughout the event stressed the need for universal cooperation in developing EDI communications standards and predicted that two standards now in existence would emerge as the sets most widely used: the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) sets used in North America and the EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) sets developed by the United Nations and used in Western Europe.
They urged also that EDI's development proceed in a way that will enable small to mid-sized business to participate in it.
Here are brief looks at the perspectives presented:
The United States. The growth of EDI here is largely business driven but the federal government is becoming increasingly interested in supporting its development, said William D. Plumb, president of the ORDERNET Services Division of Sterling Software, of Columbus, OH.
"Just a few weeks ago, it was my pleasure to give written testimony to a congressional subcommittee hearing ... which investigated the impact of EDI on the business community in general and the small-business community in particular," Plumb said.
"This hearing is significant in that it is the first time the U.S. Congress has shown an active interest in EDI," he said, "and we hope that what will come out of this hearing is a tax break for EDI users.
"The importance of international EDI to small businesses would not be overlooked in a misguided focus on the large, multinational corporations," Plumb continued.
"In Hong Kong, for example ... over 60 percent of the businesses …