So far, we have described ebXML in relatively vague terms. But how would someone actually use ebXML? Here are some hypothetical but realistic scenarios:
A large auto manufacturer does business with 10,000 suppliers that provide products ranging from paint to entire assemblies. The manufacturer uses EDI to communicate with 15% of its largest trading partners, and other manual mechanisms such as phone and fax to communicate with its small to medium partners. It wants to automate its trading with the other 85% of its trading partners in order to reduce errors, save time, and be able to provide better reporting on these manual transactions. The company has a good idea what information it needs to exchange with its suppliers, but it wants some assurances that its architecture supports reliable, secure messaging. It also wants a formal process for signing up new suppliers and managing its varying technical profiles. It determines that the solution is to define Business Processes using ebXML, so it creates a Registry that allows suppliers to obtain information about the Business Processes and sign up for new services. As business practices change and special needs arise, these Business Processes are easily customizable.
A retail company wants to increase its Web presence by taking orders online. Rather than reinvent the wheel, it purchases off-the-shelf e-commerce software that handles the process of accepting orders from the Web, routing them to the appropriate warehouses, informing the shipping company, and so on. This software is based on ebXML, allowing it to take advantage of its messaging and collaboration profile specifications. In addition, it is based on standard Business Processes for the sector, allowing it to communicate easily with major shipping companies and suppliers. The retail company is not even necessarily aware that the software it purchased is based on ebXML.
A consortium representing the chemical industry wants to define a business model for use across its industry, which would increase efficiencies of all participating companies. It decides to build Business Processes using ebXML. Using ebXML allows the consortium to recommend a vendor-independent standard, thus not forcing the participants to purchase software from one particular vendor. It also allows members to take advantage of the Core Component library and existing Business Processes defined by other industries, which gives them a jump-start on their effort.