Leslie Bohm tried to harness XML’s potential. He immediately recognized how applications using XML might advance the B2B supply chain in the bike business, where he’s a highly regarded consultant.
Bohm says he sunk hundreds of thousands of his own dollars into recruiting the five major cycling manufacturers and hundreds of retailers for a supply chain that would use its own standard XML vocabulary, BikeXML, as its underpinning. BikeXML.org was launched, along with Bikecommerce.com, its B2B exchange website. Bohm envisioned unprecedented efficiencies in the tire-and-pedal business, saving everyone astonishing chunks of money in order processing and shrinking turnaround time while ensuring smooth inventory levels.
Both websites went into hibernation in February. “They didn’t get it,” Bohm laments. “They could see how it simplified the supply chain, but we had a hard time with the politics. And as soon as it gets to talk of opening their platforms, they flinch. These IT departments can be empire builders. It’s a real phenomenon; the executives understood it, but when the IT department had to compromise on the standard and the website, it fell apart.”
Bohm thinks another BikeXML is two years from reality now?more if the economy continues to sink.
He is not short on advice for CIOs, either. “I would just say this: It’s not about the technology. It’s about the psychology. The technology’s not simple, but the psychology of XML dwarfs the technology.
“You bet I’m disappointed. I feel like we missed it, the chance to really leap forward.”