Universal Business Language (UBL) is a royalty-free model of business document information in XML syntax. UBL was developed by Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) to be as an entry point to electronic commerce for small and medium-sized business.

Evolution of UBL language
UBL is a result of more then six years of development with participation from a variety of industry data standards organizations. UBL 2.0 is a sixth generation of XML based electronic business documents standard. In total there are 31 documents covering business needs in the phases of presale, ordering, delivery, invoicing and payment. So UBL standard is not something revolutionary it is a part of evolution. According to plans UBL 2.0 standard should become UN/CEFACT standard soon, since OASIS and UN/CEFACT decided a long time ago that UN/CEFACT will take over development of UBL 2.0 and future versions of UBL. So Adopting UBL is not contravening UN/CEFACT’s strategic direction.

UBL is gaining popularity in Europe and Asian country’s fast enough, but where does acceleration comes from? Probably the most influencing party in this thing is Denmark and it’s government. Since 2003 when the law was released describing electronic invoicing to government entities in UBL standard as the only way. The law didn’t give a choice for business sector in Denmark but yet it was successful decision – in the first year of use Danish government counted more then 100,000 EUR savings. So Danish example initiated work on developing NES subset of UBL 2.0 documents. Representatives from Denmark ,Sweden ,Norway ,Finland ,UK and Iceland have set up a working group for developing a NES subset of UBL 2.0 documents. The focus of NES is to define the specific use of UBL 2.0 electronic procurement documents domestically and between the member countries. The definition covers semantic interoperability within and between all business sectors, public and private. NES members are also closely involved in the international UBL 2.0 process. Further deployment of NES UBL is taken by CEN/ISSS. NES UBL is also used in e-PRIOR and PEPPOL projects in EU.

UBL APPROVED FOR USE IN EUROPEAN PUBLIC SECTOR

19 November 2014–The OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) Standard, version 2.1, has been designated by the European Commission as one of the first consortium standards officially eligible for referencing in tenders from public administrations. UBL is a versatile electronic format for defining and exchanging a wide range of business transaction documents, particularly in international supply chain processes. UBL joins the ranks of XML, DNSSEC, and Internet Protocol v6 in receiving this special EU designation following the positive advice of the Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardization.

UBL is used by nations around the world for implementing cross-border transactions related to sourcing (e.g. tendering and catalogues), procurement (e.g. ordering and electronic invoicing), replenishment (e.g. managed inventory) and transportation (e.g. waybills, forwarding and status). The standard provides the foundation for successful European public procurement frameworks including EHF (Norway), Svefaktura (Sweden), OIOUBL (Denmark), ePrior (European Commission DIGIT), and PEPPOL, a growing pan-European procurement infrastructure whose participants currently include government agencies from Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.

Members of the OASIS UBL Technical Committee span the globe, including representatives of Boeing, Danish Ministry of Finance, Italian National Agency for New Technologies (ENEA), Japan’s Nomura Research Institute, NEC, Norway’s Difi-Agency for Public Management and eGovernment, Swedish Association of Local Authorities & Regions, U.S. Department of Defense, and others.

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