EDI: Your Future is Calling…

The Future of EDI Communications is being written by bold companies writing the code for new, innovative products. These companies are staking (at least part of) their future on Loren Data Corp’s ECGridOS Web Services API.  So, in a way, the future of our B2B sector is being written in web services API calls! 55,000,000 66,000,000 (yeah, it’s more today) calls to date, to be exactly approximate.

So the portents of EDI’s future is now being forged by a new medium – the ECGridOS API’s Web Services function calls.

I would describe the VAN sector as virtually devoid of new ideas, where most of the long-lived VAN names are at a virtual R&D impasse. Not so Loren Data Corp.

Therefore, we can definitively state that the 66,000,000 ECGridOS functions, called from the code written by our Developer Partners, is  refreshing evidence that something good is happening – there is new blood in our industry.

I looked at the list of API functions and session totals since January 1, 2012 – and carved out of the 66,000,000 API calls, Todd, our President and Chief Architect of ECGridOS, listed each developer’s totals. I wondered for a moment if reporting them here was of any value, would the developer in slot three care? API call totals change constantly (well, who’s going to catch up to NetEDI?). So, let’s leave the breakout totals for another time. Instead, let’s take a survey of our industry, and see who’s bringing anything new to the table.

I don’t see much of note. I see empty Linkedin articles about “choosing your EDI vendor”, and other such filler.

There have been acquisitions; GXS at the top of the market took a write down of their investment in supply chain startup RollStream.  In a quest for bigness, GXS slowly but surely is bleeding TGMS VAN subscribers….at an attrition rate of around 7-8% per year. That’s quite a record !!  In a few years, they mangled three once prestigious VANs, and created a DAAS –  “Downtime as a Service” called TradingGrid, and  naught else but negative sentiment emerged – but true innovation for building the future of B2B Communications? New Applications?….nope.

But I digress. The developers who are piling up millions of ECGridOS API calls are on a path certain to deliver impressive things. Why I am so sure? First,  an enabling technology like ECGridOS – is a totally new platform. We have only a glimpse of what the ECGridOS developers will ultimately  deliver. Some outstanding products, I venture, otherwise, there would be no reason to climb the API learning curve. Big things are afoot.

Companies like NetEDI and Radley, Microliance, Pinnacle, Oakland Software, and Dimension software, to name only a few,  are forging a new path, and writing the EDI industry’s future in their code, and in ECGridOS API calls. It’s a wonderful interplay between technical peers at the highest level: 1) the application developers who had the foresight to incorporate ECGridOS, and of course, 2) the creator of ECGrid, ECGridOS, and the latest, Unified AS2 – Todd  Gould, the EDI sector’s leading architect. The two forces represent such a pool of talent and abilities that something great is going to emerge – it almost always does when these forces merge.

‘Tis these very companies that will take the place of the default “brand name leaders of the sector” – – yes, these developers (who are working their tails off), are taking a technology conceived  by the leading architect of the EDI sector, Todd Gould, and will take the place of the “normative leaders”. I dare you say otherwise.

One look at this API function call report tells me that a new chapter is being written, new leaders are being born. Such leadership is not gained by default – it may exist by momentum in that state, but it never endures by default. There are entire new classes of end users, Technology driven 3PL, to name but one class, that are clamoring for new ideas, and finding nothing of use by the “default leaders of the EDI sector”, and that’s a quote.

I close this article with a note on current Industry news germane to all of these developers and Loren Data Corp, who are bound together as partners in innovation :

On 9/20/2012, the attorney’s for Loren Data Corp and GXS Inc., will be presenting oral arguments before the 4th Circuit, US Court of Appeals (Richmond VA) – in the landmark case of Loren Data Corp v. GXS Inc.   — RE: VAN routing politics and Interconnection abuses.  In taking the broad view and discussing the costs and the joys of innovation, I see that B2B’s very  largest company, GXS, at $500MM/ year in revenue, has not a pinch of innovation to its name, and could only hope to deal with a sharper, innovative competitor, Loren Data Corp, via the most shameful anticompetitive behavior, i.e., abusing the routing power it acquired with Private Equity.

In considering these actions and the upcoming appeal, and the 66,000,000 API calls made to Todd’s fantastic EDI Platform….I would say that in terms of merit, Loren Data Corp and its wonderful partners, the developers who wrote the code that made those API calls….will eventually outweigh GXS’ where it counts:  by delivering value to companies that “call EDI’s  Future”, a future where the innovators are preeminent.

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