Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Day: May 2, 2005 (Page 1 of 2)

Xenos Introduces infoWEB 5.1 with Expanded Data Support & Information Delivery

Xenos Group, Inc. announced the availability of Xenos infoWEB 5.1, the latest version of their information management solution that enables organizations to capture documents and data from disparate corporate applications and index, transform and securely deliver the information via Web browser, email, fax, ftp and corporate portals. Xenos infoWEB now provides a document management system to address the needs of distributed organizations as they meet compliance requirements for physical and electronic records. Xenos infoWEB simplifies how documents and files are input, accessed and managed with a solution that handles a variety of formats including AFP, Metacode, PCL, PDF and ASCII to index, transform and deliver business critical information on demand. Xenos infoWEB 5.1 includes advanced Web administration functions that allow organizations to distribute control across departments and customize user and group access to stored information at the document or page level. Locating specific information is simplified through the enhanced indexing and keyword search capabilities of Xenos infoWEB 5.1.

MidCOM 2.3.2 Released

The Midgard Project has released the latest development version 2.3.2 of MidCOM – the Midgard Components Framework. MidCOM is a PHP-based component framework for the Midgard Content Management System. This version is the third integration build for the upcoming 2.4.0 release, “the current API can be considered 99% stable already”. MidCOM is the default Content Management interface in Midgard CMS, and provides developers a production architecture for building new web applications. With the MidCOM framework PHP applications have localization, configuration, templating and data abstraction features. This is the second of a few relase candiadates for the upcoming 2.4.0 release. No more new features will be allowed into this branch and it is now open for translation updates. http://www.midgard-project.org

Verity TeleForm Now Includes Secure Web-based Scanning & Document Capture

Verity Inc. announced the availability of Verity TeleForm Version 9.1, the latest version of the company’s content capture solution. The new Verity TeleForm Web Capture Option lets companies with branch offices, satellite plants or geographically-dispersed stores to scan and capture form and document-based content throughout the enterprise using any Web browser. TeleForm v9.1 adds integrated support for both file and database clustering to help ensure high levels of system availability in cases where mission-critical applications demand non-stop processing. Content security is enforced from the document scanning point to the processing of documents and forms, through to the export of data and images into back-end databases and applications. Features include LDAP integration, single sign-on controls, password-protected PDF file exports, a revision control system with file transfer protection, as well as real-time and historical audit tracking that documents exactly how a form or document moves through the system.

eCl@ss & Requisite Collaborate on Product Data

eCl@ss e.V. announced a global collaboration agreement with Requisite Technology to enhance the eCl@ss Standardized Material and Service Classification. The agreement calls for a fully supported implementation of eCl@ss within the Requisite Spend Data Visibility suite, and the integration of Requisite’s flat product data structure (RUS) into the eCl@ss standard. The relationship provides manufacturing engineers enhanced language and schema mapping, and more detailed product attribute information. The primary points covered by the collaboration agreement are: Incorporation and standardization of Requisite’s RUS attributes within eCl@ss; Provision by Requisite of the eCl@ss taxonomy in various industry standard XML formats; Ongoing enhancements by both organizations of eCl@ss attributes and categories; Requisite support of eCl@ss user requests for changes and enhancements; and Future provision of eCl@ss as an enhanced RUS-like meta-schema with complete mappings to other standards such as UNSPSC, eOTD, and RosettaNet. The eCl@ss product classification standard is immediately available to current Requisite users, including SAP SRM and Oracle customers, in XML. http://www.eclass.de,

Please Yourself, Please Others

When you cut through all the details of banking applications, specialized industry applications, special tools for formula processing, other tools for presentation, international applications, and more … there are really just two fundamental uses of XBRL.

Here is the first use: You start by producing your financial statements the same way that you always do. Once you have your completed financials in hand, you convert them to XBRL and send them out into the world. In this model, XBRL is for the benefit of everyone else. They thank you.

Here is the second use: You identify all of the fundamental transactions in your business according to a taxonomy expressed in XBRL. You use this classification of all the basic financial facts within your organization as a way to aggregate these facts, discover new facts, track activities, and produce reports. What you learn from this use of XBRL is your business. You’ve got yourself to thank.

It is possible to combine the uses, starting with the second use, using XBRL for your own purposes inside your company, and then moving to the first use, creating XBRL reports for the rest of the world. The possibility of combination should not obscure the differences between the two uses.

Not surprisingly, these two different uses of XBRL get separate treatment within the XBRL community. The first use–focused on external users–is supported by a set of “financial reporting” taxonomies,collectively referred to as “XBRL FR.”  The second, internally focused use has a taxonomy of its own, called XBRL GL (for “general ledger”).

If I were betting, my bet would be that the success of XBRL–the breadth of adoption–will depend on which of these taxonomies takes hold in the market.

More specifically, I would bet that broad use of XBRL depends on the eventual success of XBRL GL, or some descendent or variant of it. The reason is that internal use is the only way to get return on investment in XBRL. It could be used to automate internal controls, contributing to better internal decision making, better risk management, and more affordable, sustainable compliance. It could be used to radically reduce the cost of external audits.  It could be used to support management decision tools–dashboards, metrics, benchmarking–to help the organization become more competitive.

By contrast, it is hard to see where the payout is from tagging financial statements in XBRL only at the end of the process, for release to the analysts and regulators.

The people who would bet against me are those who figure that XBRL is going to be imposed from the top down, as a requirement by regulators. I don’t see that happening in the U.S. As the SEC’s Peter Derby said last Tuesday morning at the XBRL conference, XBRL is currently hard to do and U.S. regulators prefer to follow the market’s lead when it comes to technology. It could be a different story in Europe, where, for example, the need to bring 25 different national banking systems together under the direction of a single Committee of European Banking Supervisors really does appear to require something like XBRL:  If it didn’t exist, they would need to invent it.

Assume for the moment that I am right–that internal use of XBRL will be what drives this market forward, and that broad availability of XBRL FR, created automatically from the in-house XBRL GL, will be the consequence, not the cause of market acceptance. Given that assumption, you would be looking for evidence of internal adoption. Is it happening?

From the evidence at last week’s conference, the answer is “NO.”  The only country where there seems to be serious focus on internal use is Japan. Hitachi showcased a case study of an XBRL GL implementation for WACOAL, an apparel manufacturer, and PCA Corporation, which offers a Japanese financial accounting package that was described as being similar in scope and market reach to Quickbooks, has announced support for XBRL GL within their product.

What might broaden this activity?

XBRL GL is currently a technology looking for a good problem to solve. This is not to say, at all, that XBRL GL is not potentially useful. Look at the list–executive dash boards, more effective internal control, reduced cost of compliance–each of these outcomes is very useful. But XBRL GL has yet to demonstrate that it is the critical, secret sauce that makes any one of these good outcomes doable, affordable, or more effective than ever before. XBRL GL needs to move from a technology that could beused for any of these good things to becoming the critical technology that an organization must haveto make some one of these good things available and affordable.

I think this can happen.  It will be driven by an application that needs XBRL GL, and not from XBRL GL needing an application. There are a number of candidate applications. What remains to be seen is whether the companies building and using those applications will find that XBRL GL is the missing piece they have been looking for.

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