Reference Architecture


The Reference Architecture is a Guide. It is a technical guiding document supported by on-line resources and a compliance-check tool.

The Architecture defines agreed specifications on: Business Models, Business Processes, Data Models, Product Identification and Classification, Communication Protocols.

It is free and available on line. It is used by IT specialists to create new eBusiness connections or to update those already used by fashion companies. Since June 2013, the Architecture is a also an official document (CWA) published by CEN, the European Committee for Standardization.


There are four main types of elements in the Architecture. The hereafter criteria of conformance indicate what is expected from users who wish to adopt the eBIZ Reference Architecture. The minimal criteria of conformance can be summarised as :

1 - The organisational and procedural aspects of business scenarios
Upstream the proposed scenarios are assumed as a reference that could be modified or partially implemented with high degree of freedom;

Downstream the architecture specifies the ‘mandatory’ minimum set of transactions of each process; the pilots, once defined the process they are interested in, must implement at least this minum set of transactions.

2 - The semantic and data models to exchange information
The data models of the exchanged messages always must be strictly validated with the reference XML Schemas (XSDs).
Downstream there is also the necessity of a second check using the Use Profiles that presently are not implemented by XSDs for automatic validation (they restrict the basic UBL XSDs specifications).

In both the cases it is mandatory to use versions of the specifications that are not former than those mentioned in the architecture report.
To validate instances of electronic documents (upstream or downstream) an official on-line Validator has been published (click here for more info)

3 - The product and party classification and identification
Downstream the product and party (even location) information must be represented by GLN and GTIN global identifiers issued by GS1.
The only exception could be for ‘local networks’ communications: in this case if the pilots are not able to implement the global identifications in due time, it is acceptable that local network communications use other identification systems (in this case the ‘schemaName’ must be declared explicitly according to the adopted use profiles);

Anyway it must be demonstrated the capability to translate the local identification system towards the global ones before starting to broaden the communication towards other partners.
Upstream any kind of identifier can be accepted for product/part identification (but the issuing organisation must be declared clearly), is a duty of the parties to avoid misunderstandings; the parties and locations usually are explicitly and extensively described.

4 - The middleware and communication protocols
Inter-company (in a Peer-to-Peer mode or via a connectivity hub) and inter-hub data exchange must be supported with SOAP over HTTP or SMTP. Intercompany data exchange must satisfy minimal level of security. Inter-hub data exchanges must guarantee the identity of the originator of business documents and assure for non-repudiation of received messages.

Once it is endorsed by the companies’ management, the eBIZ Reference Architecture is meant to be used by the companies’ usual ICT suppliers or own specialists (if present).


Thanks to the CEN eBIZ Workshop, a new, upgraded, version of the eBIZ Reference Architecture is released in 2013.

The upgrades address new business needs on digital communication identified through the Gap analysis carried out by the Project Team with contributions by Members of the Workshop.
Based on the Gap Analysis the Project Team elaborated a Roadmap, a simplified extract of the Roadmap (v3.1) is herein shared for transparency. This document summarises the topics, the timing and the who-does-what to produce the new eBIZ Reference Architecture.
In April 2013 the Draft of the upgraded eBIZ Reference Architecture was released on the CEN website and widely advertised. A 60 days public consultation was launched by AENOR and six meetings took place acros Europe gathering about 150 professionals from IT supliers, fashion companies and otehr related organisations.

During the consultation 166 minor comments were received and 163 comments were integrated in the final version.

Based on the consultation results, the Architecture was modified and the new version was approved at the Workshop plenary meeting (June 26).

A total of 54 companies / organisations from 14 countries have officially endorsed the Architecture (names are published in the document’s foreword)

The Architecture final version was published by CEN on 24th July 2013 as an official CEN WORKSHOP AGREEMENT (CWA).

The Architecutre is available at this page (CEN Website), name of the file: CEN Workshop Agreement.

Reference Architecture at a glance

Reference processes fitting real industry needs:

reference processes for textile clothing production (upstream)

reference processes for footwear production (upstream)

reference processes for textile clothing and footwear supplying for retailers (upstream)

(from “Yarn subcontracted manufacturing” to “Vendor managed Inventory” process)

A large number of document formats available to transfer information:

business document templates for textile clothing production (upstream)

business document templates for footwear production (upstream)

business document templates for textile clothing and footwear supplying for retailers (upstream)


The only Textile Clothing production area (upstream) offers more than 380 resources (XML Schema, XSLT, examples, user guides, code lists, ..)

eBIZ validation tool

The eBIZ validation tool allows user to check compliance with eBIZ