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Subject: Terminology and Charter / Frame of Reference



This issue came up on today’s call (i.e. Dale’s comment on scope really being “interconnect” and Mikkel’s re “4-corner”).  It’s also an agenda item for next time, with Philip presenting, I understand.  Since every standards effort benefits from wider understanding and buy-in, it seems to me this TC would benefit from conforming its terms, and frame of reference, to those more widely used and understood elsewhere in the standards and technology community.


I’d suggest that the two most relevant high-level “anchor” concepts are:

a)      The Inter-Net, and its peering / backbone architecture

b)      The Cloud, where many types of users and systems increasingly are either cloud-based, or have a cloud ‘proxy’


Putting these together, you have the notion of the ‘Inter-Cloud’.  While not yet in common usage, much of its meaning is clear from the obvious references.  It is being used by folks such Cisco’s CTO and Vint Cerf, among other industry luminaries.


It seems to me that “Inter-Cloud Business Document Exchange” would be a more readily understandable term for what this TC is doing.  The “4-corner model” seems a somewhat arcane term, not much known or used outside the e-invoicing/procurement community, and even there, not so much outside Europe.  Adoption of this frame of reference would likely flow through into other terms we discussed (e.g. perhaps “Cloud Peering Point” for “Access Point”).


The Inter-Cloud concept does encompass various other, more IT-centric use cases.  However, eminent commentators such as Vint Cerf (in this post) seem to suggest that data/process interoperability between clouds may be a leading edge use case for the Inter-Cloud.  It seems hard to think of a more widely-relevant use case for such interoperability than the exchange of business documents.


Without in any way changing the scope or charter of the TC’s work, this sets up its work as potentially having much broader relevance – thus helping get buy-in and adoption, in particular from industry leaders.  I’d recall that messaging interconnects between AOL, Compuserve etc in 1995, with the web and browsers on the back of that, were the key events that created the Internet as a mass market phenomenon.  With buy-in from leading “business document clouds”, I believe this TC’s work could help crystallize a similar industry shift.


As part of the agenda item on terminology for the next call, I’d like to propose a discussion of this idea.  If there was general agreement, we might consider changing the name of the TC to “Inter-Cloud Business Document Exchange”.


Best regards,



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