cXML (commerce eXtensible Markup Language) is a protocol, created by Ariba, intended for communication of business documents between procurement applications, e-commerce hubs and suppliers. cXML is based on XML and provides formal XML schemas for standard business transactions, allowing programs to modify and validate documents without prior knowledge of their form.
CXML is a protocol rather than an implementation and so every single implementation of cXML is slightly different and this means that one vendors cXML toolkit will generally not communicate directly with another vendors toolkit, which means that a first time cXML integration will normally require some bespoke development. This can cause significant issues if parties are both using incompatible toolkits and have to go back to the toolkit developers to make changes to the the systems to interoperate.
@UK PLC solves this problem by having 100's of different implementations of cXML that work with all the various ways that vendors have implemented cXML and @UK PLC is happy to work with what ever a customers system puts out by way of cXML. We have connected to most systems over the years so this is much less of an issue going forward, but it will be a major issue for anyone that purchases a puchout toolkit rather than a connectivity solution, which is what @UK PLC offers.
The protocol does not include the full breadth of interactions some parties may wish to communicate. However, it can be expanded through the use of extrinsic elements and newly-defined domains for various identifiers. This expansion is the limit of point-to-point configurations necessary for communication.
The current protocol includes documents for setup (company details and transaction profiles), catalogue content, application integration (including the widely-used PunchOut feature), original, change and delete purchase orders and responses to all of these requests, order confirmation and ship notice documents (cXML analogues of EDI 855 and 856 transactions) and new invoice documents.
PunchOut is a protocol for interactive sessions managed across the Internet, a communication from one application to another, achieved through a dialog of real-time, synchronous cXML messages, which support user interaction at a remote site. This protocol is most commonly used today in the form of Procurement PunchOut, which specifically supports interactions between a procurement application and a supplier’s eCommerce web site and possibly includes an intermediary for authentication and version matching.
@UK PLC offers a quick route for suppliers that require cXML punchout by using the @UK PLC hub and sbxp punchout/orderXchange. This allows suppliers to leverage @UK PLC's working integration with all the variations of cXML and to connect using the sbxp toolkit which provides a punchout in all the various web development languages.
By providing proven multi development language functionality, it is much easier for developers to connect using the language of their choice.