Category Archives: XML Schema

Person/Organization Schema – Why Reinvent The Wheel?

Almost any enterprise SOA effort begins with an attempt to define XML schemas for key entities used by organization’s business processes. These entities inevitably include “person”, “organization” and associated information such as contact data with addresses, phone numbers, etc. While not every organization needs to support (and model) all CRM-related functions, person/organization (sometimes a term “party” is used to refer to these entity types) is almost always present in some aspects of a business (usually to represent customers and partners).

Of course, the need for these common data definitions goes far beyond just SOA; any integration/EDI effort has to rely on a language that can be understood by all participants of this effort. This is why many industries and government agencies try to define standard schemas that can be used for information exchange between multiple organizations (and not all of it is implemented using Web services). Examples in US include ACORD for insurance, MISMO for mortgage lenders and the Department of Justice JXDM XML schemas. All such schemas have to be able to represent customer/organization data.

I find it surprising that with all the effort that has gone into modeling shared schemas there is still no universally accepted standard that would once and for all define common XML data types.

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