muSOAing for 8/13/09

The normalization of taxonomies can be very tricky. If there are vast differences between the taxonomies then the best option is to maintain an internal canonical that maps to your Industry standard one. The mapping exercise is crucial. You certainly do not want to modify the Industry Standard schema to incorporate this canonical. One of the chief reasons that such a modification is ill advised is if you conduct online B2B transactions then in most cases the trading partners should share the same version of the Canonical. I don’t think you can force your trading partner to adopt your taxonomy 🙂

In such a case, some level of mapping and transformation will be required. Keeping in mind that such operations can prove expensive and could throw your SLAs out of whack, keep them to the barest minimum and only where absolutely necessary.

When it comes time to test drive a canonical, make sure that you have budgeted for this and try to achieve this through a Pilot project involving at least two departments that had been hitherto using their own custom representations. Once you have provided the Canonical, there might be some work involved to do inbound and outbound mapping depending on who the producer and consumer is. This is integration work and all of this should be accounted for in the Pilot as well as Implementation Phases.

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