EDI Network Interconnection Politics and Policies – the trading partner is primary

Interconnected industries thrive when private policies and external politics liberalize the environment favoring ubiquitous meshing of networks. Whether roads or pipelines, telecom or ISP backbones, the reason we are here, reading and writing about EDI, bringing EDI Communications to the modern web, and into cloud platforms, is that we all ride on a globally meshed IP network that provides pathways for EDI messages. Private networks using  leased and analog, frame relay, i.e., VANs of the bygone era are gone. Some have survived to use secure tunneling to recreate private paths for EDI messages – but they are all otherwise connected.

However, VANs connect at layer 7 (message routing to and from applications, not IP infrastructure) ,and so we have an odd situation of VANs making individual interconnects on a network by network routing basis, at the message layer. These are VAN interconnects. Think Mailbags.

At Loren Data Corp, we know quite a bit about systems affecting VAN interconnects, as we provide interconnect management for eCommerce Service Providers, often knows as B2B Cloud Commerce Systems. We manage over 100 interconnects to a global cohort of VANs, Specialty Hubs, and Federal systems. We have a liberal Interconnect policy for the collegial commerce networks we connect to, and we base ECGrid interconnect policies on a short list of technical checks-offs. However, beyond technical competencies, netops support of the new network, our due diligence, etc., there is one overriding value that we adhere to that takes primacy above all, and we apply this at each stage of administering our liberal interconnections policies: The Primacy of the Trading Partners

When partners need to get trading, we take that responsibility seriously, and we make every effort to work with other bona fide commerce network operators to make Layer 7 interconnections as fast and painlessly as possible. ECGrid® Tech Operations is empowered to make interconnects with a fairly small data set, as long the trading partners on both ends of the relationship are on record as needing the interconnection. Rarely, we hear from a network, a specialized smaller operator, that does not support X12.56 Mailbag – and we always extend ourselves to help these folks out, even if we do not gain extra revenue in every case.  Why would any network go through the hassle of interconnecting to a smaller provider, when the upside is negligible? The answer is easy in every case: Because the Trading Partners Come First.

With over 18,000 (update) 23,000 active EDI network ID’s on ECGrid, and as the backbone communication and routing provider for many prestigious On-Demand commerce application providers, we take our charge as ‘guardian of the transaction’, seriously. We interconnect liberally, so that our clients and their subscribers can choose the services that they feel are best for them. We never rely on any one criteria for enabling an interconnect, we judge the opportunity by how important the trading relationship is to our clients and their partners.

Are there problems brewing or already fermenting in the VAN interconnect system, especially after the recent mergers of GXS / Inovis and IBM  / Sterling? Yes, there are present problems and possibly other (solvable) problems with some x.400 EU networks, which are mostly cultural. But how far will certain network operators go before trade is damaged, and certain actions are seen for what they really are – blatant attempts to arbitrage interconnection in order to roll up the EDI industry into one MegaVAN? The coming months will be witness to a most active phase of legal and policy changes to the EDI and VAN system – that was once so obscure, but is increasingly being revealed to our regulators and the courts as a particularly vital resource to economy and trade.

You will never see such behavior at Loren Data Corp ECGrid; we specialize in enhancing electronic commerce, not disrupting it. ECGrid connects networks and service providers with the most modern, intelligent EDI routing network, and the only Web Services API designed  to empower developers and cloud integrators. Creating the technologies that enhance trading communities and streamline interconnection amongst the collegial cohort of cooperative Value Added Commerce System Operators, is exactly what we do.

And we love helping other innovators get the job done with the best EDI Network Services and support. The Trading Partner comes first at ECGrid, and that goes for both sides of the wire – for after all, they  come in delicious pairs!

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