We need to fix a broken global ecommerce communications industry. There is an increasing industry-wide march to what seems like an unviable future path with fewer choices:
1) We have a system of increasingly larger VANs, and fewer of them
2) More ‘Top of the Chain’ companies are leaving routed EDI Networks, those that have typically cooperated with interconnections, and are now standing up closed hubs, suppliers be damned.
3) After all, who cares how many FTP and As2 connections and certificates you need to connect to? Dozens of closed trading communities? Stress, lack of scalability, and the increasing fracture of global trade is your legacy.
4) Private hubs with large partner communities that insist on no-cost attachments. They do not realize the damage this is causing, as their systems ops, while competent, are no match for what they are taking on. Think twice.
5) The motivations for ‘going hub wild’ are pure. We sympathize that the ecommerce communications market has made managing trading partners a crazy and frustrating business. We try and address these issues with the best wholesale, service provider only EDI host network that connects everywhere.
6) Last but not least: The largest EDI Communications networks must act like good shepherds and good corporate citizens, participate in equal peer routing, and in standards like the X12 Connectivity Caucus, please act as the good peers you used to be, and stop the trade damaging madness. You can turn it around guys.
This is really not a post to beat the ECGridOS horse, but the fact is:
Back in the late 1990’s, the seminal idea for creating a “network of networks”, an EDI routing and interconnection broker architecture, mediated by the best technology and operations standards, was in response to these nascent issues of broken, high maintenance routes. We continue to strive, to work with colleagues and peer networks, to further automate interconnects and partner pairings, directory services, etc. Web Services standards are tailor made for such network to network agent communications.
That was the whole raison detre of ECGrid and ECGridOS. I want influencers to think for a minute: as the mid market starts to look at better and more available B2B systems (not just bottom up supply chains), we have an opportunity to streamline and automate, instead of fracture and isolate. Serendipitous trading partner discovery will never happen with closed hubs sprouting like weeds, and with the leading VANs holding down industry innovators with fat, furry paws.
Now, it’s your business, your prerogative as to your choice of communications topology – I just want the issues aired and the alternatives exposed. This is not just a boost for Loren Data Corp alternatives, either. As a network that connects wholesale accounts only, we have a provincial yet compelling, interest in the ultimate evolution of our industry.
Having been in the game since 1987 and operating the 18,000 partner ECGrid EDI network since 2001 – it just gives us a perspective. Rather than simply complaining, we have proposals, just make contact with us, anytime. And join the Caucus.