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EIDX Glossary

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This letter last updated 01 March 2003

Packets - In an on-line context, pieces of a message, each containing the destination address and the data necessary to reconstruct the packets in order once received at the destination, allowing the participants to conduct a communication or a transaction.

Page - See web page.

Paperless office - Office environment in which information is entirely stored, manipulated, and transferred electronically rather than on paper.

Parsing - The process of breaking up the contents of an input file into chunks for processing.  The chunk may be an instruction for performing some program step, or the chunk may be some data that needs to be transformed and written to the output file in another format.  See mapping.

Partner Interface Process (PIP™) - RosettaNet's architecture for defining business processes between supply-chain partners.  They are specialized system-to-system XML-based dialogs.   Each PIP specification includes a business document with the vocabulary, and a business process with the choreography of the message dialog.

Pass-thru - Messages that bypass mapping software functions because they are to be received as-is by the next application in the processing sequence.  For example, an inbound message from a trading partner may be configured to go through the Gateway in pass-thru mode, and then be translated by the back-end application.

Password - Security measure used to restrict access to computer systems and sensitive files. A password is a unique string of characters that a user types in as an identification code. The system compares the code against a stored list of authorized passwords and users; if the code is legitimate, the system allows the user access at whatever security level has been approved for the owner of that password.

Payload - 1)  The essential contents of a message being exchanged - that which remains when all the packaging and enveloping is removed; the parts of the message that make it to the end user.  2) In Logistics, the revenue-producing cargo being transported or carried in a vehicle.

Persistence - The quality of lasting a long time; an object is persistent if continues to exist independently of transient events involving the object.  By storing it in a data base, a purchase order has persistence and exists after the event which created and transported it have been completed; the length of time that the data is kept in storage in a computer system is a measure of the object's persistence.

PII - Personally Identifiable Information - Refers to anything in an electronic network that can be linked to a human being, including things like name, address, phone number, and e-mail address.

Ping - A short message sent by a computer across a network to another computer to verify that the target computer exists and is online.   In MIcrosoft Windows™, look for Accessories-DOS prompt or Accessories-COMMAND prompt.  If the IP Address is invalid, you will get an "Unknown host" reply.  If the host server is not connected to the network, you'll get a message saying that the target host is unreachable.  If the host is valid and on-line, you will get a reply from the host.  Click here to see an example of pinging the EIDX web site in Chicago from San Jose to see if it is connected to the network.:

PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) - Enables users to securely and privately exchange data using a public and a private cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted authority.

Point of Presence (PoP) - Routers in outlying areas, making up national and regional networks. Lower speed lines are used to connect to backbones.

Point of Sale (POS) - Business or location where goods are sold to customers.

Point-to-Point - A connection between two points in a network.  In B2B, refers to a connection between two partners without the use of a third-party ISP or VAN in the middle.

Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) - A communications protocol used to transmit network data over telephone lines; PPP converts the dial-up connection to a point-to-point internet connection.  PPP allows you to connect your computer to the Internet itself, rather than logging on through an ISP's host computer and using that server's commands through a shell. This type of connection lets you communicate directly with other computers on the network using TCP/IP connections. It is part of the TCP/IP suite of programs necessary to connect to and use the Internet.

  • PPP was originally designed for dial-up lines, and is now used by DSL providers to solve the problems of managing an open DSL network, such as IP address shortages and broadcasts not meant for you appearing on your local IP address.  PPP acts like a generic modem connection, and the connection is secure, preventing other DSL clients from eavesdropping on the line, and relatively uncongested.  There is a slight bit of overhead in that there's an extra step of authentication with the ISP before the internet connection is established.  PPP is generally considered to be more stable than SLIP.

Polysemy - Lexical ambiguity - the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different contexts) to express two or more different meanings.

  • In electronic commerce (EC), computers are expected to cope with human language.  From experiences with search engines, users know that search terms often turn up seemingly irrelevant results.  Computers are not good at guessing which meaning of a word was meant, and impossible to add enough qualifiers that will filter the results until only relevant results.
  • When humans translate from one language to another, the existence polysemy means that inaccurate translations are possible.  This is a risk any time one EC standard's vocabulary is being translated into another EC standard's vocabulary.
  • When any two people discuss business processes, polysemy is guaranteed to occur sooner or later.  When launching an EC implementation, discussing terms and meanings is critical to success.  See terminology for Inventory Management or Trading Partner Communities - both prime breeding grounds for polysemy.

Portability - The ease with which software can be moved (ported) from one machine or operating system to another.  Compare with interoperability.

Portal - A Web site that offers a collection of links to other Web-accessed services or products.

Post Office Protocol (POP) - The "receiving" protocol in an e-mail system; works in conjunction with SMTP.  POP provides a "store-and-forward" service to the e-mail application; this allows users to have their e-mail messages saved in a server mailbox when they are not connected to the internet, and the user then downloads messages when they connect.

Postponement - Delaying the task of differentiating a product for a specific customer until the latest possible point in the supply chain.  This allows for flexibility in providing some level of customization for a  customer while keeping inventories low.  For example, by stocking standard components and peripherals of a computer or networking system, and configuring them into a solution just prior to shipment, the seller has more flexibility to handle more standard and customized configurations.

Price Transparency - Occurs when both on-line buyers and sellers know the price for goods or a service and can achieve cost economies by eliminating the intermediary.

Prime Contractor (PC) - A person or group that makes a direct agreement to perform the work of a project and that subsequently may delegate specific tasks to contract manufacturers or subcontractors.  For example, an OEM may outsource part of a manufacturing line to a CM, or a CM may play the Prime Contractor role if it subcontracts the painting of a component to the CM's subcontractor.

Private Network - A network consisting of a system of owned and leased lines that can only be used by one company and its subscribers.  c.f.  Virtual Private Network.

Private/Public Key Cryptography - A dual key encryption system used when confidential information, such as a bid, offer, or credit card number, is sent over the Internet. The information is encrypted with a "public key" data field by the recipient's system and uses a secret digital code or "private key" to decipher the encrypted information.

Private Process - The sequence of activities that are internal to an enterprise.  Generally, this means activities that occur inside the enterprise's intranet firewall.   Partners outside the enterprise have no visibility or interaction with private processes; however activities performed in a public process may initiate one or more private processes.  For example, a customer may log on to a seller's web site to place a purchase order.  Submitting the purchase order may initiate private process activities such as checking inventory on-hand, doing a credit check, etc

Privacy - With Web content (including eCommerce), the ability to control the collection, storage, sharing, security, and dissemination of confidential personal and company information gathered internally or from other sources.

Privacy Certification - Seal from any of several independent entities that assess a company's on-line privacy statements based on a set of industry guidelines established by the Online Privacy Alliance, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or other authorities. Seals do not ensure that confidential information is not sold, shared, licensed, or leased.

Privacy Policy - A document on a Web site that states how the owner intends to handle users' personal information. It is a formal disclosure but is not governed by law.

Procurement Hub - A type of eMarketplace that sells products and services to multiple buyers across numerous, unrelated industry segments.

Product Tailored - An eMarketplace where goods or services are designed to meet the specifications of individual buyers and sellers.

Profile - Data that accurately portrays the significant features of a business entity, especially the data that leads to building on-line trust.

Protocol - Rules that computers must follow in order to talk to each other.  In essence, protocols are languages, with grammar and syntax rules, and both ends of a communication must speak the same language, or the communication fails.  When both ends of a communication do not speak the same language, there needs to be a translation.  One service a VAN provides is protocol translation.   Many protocols are based on OSI and fit into one of the OSI layer classifications.  There are many types of protocols.

  • Transport Protocol - file retrieval/transfer protocols such as FTP, gopher, and telnet that enable the retrieval of information from computers connected to the internet.
  • Communication protocols - Protocols which allow users to communicate asynchronously (both ends of the communication don't have to be on-line simultaneously, and synchronously (both ends on-line simultaneously).  Communication protocols enable e-mail, newsgroups, and chat groups.
  • Hardware protocols - protocols that allow hardware devices to interconnect, such as FDDI.
  • Network protocols - rules and signals that networks use to communicate
  • Routing protocols - protocols that allow routers to exchange information
  • Application protocols - rules that define the communication behavior of applications.

Public Process - The sequence of activities that are external to an enterprise, performed collaboratively with one or more trading partners, including the exchange of business messages or sharing an application that resides in one partner's extranet.  Also called "collaborative process."  The terms of the collaboration or interaction are usually called out in a Trading Partner Agreement.  The choreography of an exchange may be defined in a Collaboration Protocol Agreement, and may even be expressed in a machine-readable format conforming to ebXML's Business Process Specification Schema.

Purchasing Hub - Using economies of scale, a Web site that combines various product or service bids from numerous prospective buyers and then approaches sellers to negotiate price points favorable to the buyers. Similar to a buying consortium.

Purchase Order (PO) - A type of contract between a buyer and a seller.  Regardless of what it is called, there is always something that serves the legal function of "purchase order" when a buyer makes a request for goods or services to be provided.  When the seller agrees to provide the goods and services, and both parties agree on the price, a binding contract exists between  buyer and seller.  Note that the delivery dates don't have to be agreed upon in order for a binding contract to exist.  /The two major types of orders are Discrete Purchase Orders and Blanket Purchase Orders

  • Purchase Order – Discrete (Standalone) - A discrete, standalone PO is a one-time commitment to a supplier for material. The purchase order conveys information such as quantity, description, and price of goods or services ordered.  A purchase order specify terms and conditions, transportation requirements, etc. or one or more of these items may be contained in a Terms and Conditions Agreement (TCA) referenced on the purchase order.  See also Types of Discrete Purchase Orders.
  • Purchase Order - Blanket  - A Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) is a long-term commitment to a supplier for material against which multiple short-term releases will be generated to satisfy requirements. The BPO defines specific terms, conditions, and pricing terms not already contained in or more specific than terms in the contractual agreement.  There are several Replenishment Scenarios that use different types of Blanket Purchase Orders.