A few points:
o Transformation is not only glue. It offers a kind of proof of category.
o Transformation can be used normatively to define membership.
o A standard format lowers the barrier to entry. It does not necessarily
bring down the total lifecycle cost or eliminate transformation.
One reason EDI tools or any tools that depend on the existence of a common format
solely become expensive is because once into the actual application,
the business rules can vary by contract and the system must account
for the variations. Experience is, the variations are inevitable and
originate in many sources including the need to compete by adjusting
terms and conditions, eg, tradeoffs between costs and services,
customization, and so forth. It is not "no size fits all" but
"no size fits all comfortably".
We use meta-languages to enable local adjustments. Even where a
vertical vocabulary exists as a layer, at the bedrock, we have to
make fit tighter or looser. XML + XSLT and so forth are ultimately
enterprise tailoring technology. We are ultimately seamstresses.
We take out cost by our skill at fitting the garment to the figure.