Highlighting ECGrid

It never hurts to highlight the enduring strengths of ECGrid – the incredible EDI Communications Platform that offers more, particularly for developers and solutions providers.  ECGrid is a complete trading community management platform. And, with ECGridOS, its Web Services API,  ECGrid’s VAN functions can be invoked from within any application.

Think of ECGridOS  as an O/S kernel,  exposing the scalable node architecture of ECGrid.  The synergy of an API extending a VANs’ environment with programmability places  you, the developer, back in the driver’s seat – which is refreshing.  Many of our developer partners came to accept the limitations and shortcomings of VAN mailboxes, and were subsequently pleased , even ecstatic, with the power and flexibility of ECGridOS.  Just take a look at the ECGridOS API docs , which describe the depth of command and control functions available to your applications.

ECGridOS is the ticket for those who must get a handle on EDI Network operations, simply to stay competitive:  you can take programmatic control over VAN messaging, of course, as well as AS2 Communications without the burden of software licenses and the associated hardware required to operate an As2 hub. ECGrid Unified As2 is fully inter-operable with ECGrid VAN services: routing, mailbox management, and the entire platform architecture. No other VAN offers such a holistic and comprehensive platform architecture.

The growing community of B2B integration “ninjas”, hired-guns, and EDI Cowboys and Cowgirls, now have a weapon that places them on par with the largest VANs – actually, ECGridOS grants more power to the developer than any VAN mailbox or AS2 software.

As to credibility and stability, Loren Data was founded in 1987, and ECGrid entered full commercial service in 2001, compiling less than eleven hours of scheduled and unscheduled downtime – so  the operational credentials of ECGrid are impeccable, and ECGridOS is being baked into the software of many innovative OEMs and integration specialty providers.

So. “who and what is Loren Data Corp?”; a question asked many times each week by new developers and other parties with an interest in the company’s ongoing antitrust case.   Here are some answers you might not find on the company’s “about page”:

1) Loren Data is the only EDI Communications platform operator evolving and delivering an API, a developer program, and unified AS2 services with optional message routing to the global system of VANs, service providers, and Federal Purchasing systems.

2) Loren data was founded in 1987 by Todd Gould, a Materials Scientist, while still in College. Todd wrote the operating software that is ECGrid, ECGridOS, and Unified As2. He also meticulously maintains the company’s computing and communications infrastructure, located in two datacenter collocation facilities, and the server and routing equipment  –  all told around 50U of racks and spares.

3) Todd financed the total growth of the business out of operating revenues, has zero debt, and never diluted a penny of equity….. Loren Data Corp is a bootstrapped company in the best tradition of American Entrepreneurship !  If the right equity partner came along, Todd might listen, (especially to an established technology leader. That’s my personal opinion! ).

4) The five employees of Loren Data Corp, most prominently the Netops department run by Crystal Kuczynski, is a tour de force in masterful operations.  ECGrid Netops routinely intercepts problems before the customers enter a problem ticket. Loren Data Corp Netops is renowned for its proactive responsiveness. And, they are migration experts, support all clients on a first name basis, and make things happen fast.

5) The company is the applied technology and architectural thought leader in EDI systems engineering and advanced communications services. Not one other network operator would dare open an API to developers. Conversely, Todd rejoices in making ECGrid ever more open to developers and OEMs –  programmers are ‘his people’.

6) The entire kerfuffle with GXS’ over routing policies is,  if nothing else (unfortunate, unnecessary, detrimental to the marketplace, etc.)  a crusade for fair interoperability and supplier independence. Todd’s decision to litigate was not simply a means of seeking redress for Loren Data Corp, (which he has every right to do),  the Sherman Antitrust Act case against GXS was undertaken to preserve and insure Routing Policy Sanity in the EDI market for all participants. We simply can’t have a PE fund roll up three large VANs and start telling the rest of the competitive networks where they can send a client’s messages over what  interconnect – we would NEVER stand for such behavior, even for a moment in a telecoms interstate switching dispute, nor would we tolerate this interconnect denial if your ISP was having its traffic blocked by Verizon or Comcast. But because this case is a B2B business sector dispute, and not a consumer market case – there has been precious little advocacy at any level.

7) Those that say this case is merely ‘a dispute between a large market leader (GXS) against a smaller competitor’…..do not comprehend the dynamics of interconnection on society, or they have chosen to ignore the fact that all of the communications markets underwent awful periods of antitrust disputes (AT&T / MCI), to become eventually regulated as common carrier markets, or were deregulated with the FCC watching the largest incumbents with a very jaundiced eye (IP backbone services) –

8) The VAN market is, in the final analysis, a B2B market,  not a service model know to most laymen. The roll-up of three large VANs into the synthetic entity of GXS (by a PE fund) has not outraged enough of the B2B community, and this  is demoralizing and astounding. The improper, discriminatory, and monopolistic practices of GXS denying exchange of reciprocal message traffic (improperly called an ‘interconnect’) to a selected competitor(s) is wrong on many levels – and is especially wrong in regards to bailment (taking custody of the messages of private parties) and rights of contractual parties to choose their messaging carrier.

9) That Todd and company have endured with very little industry advocacy or support, even the self interested, self-motivated support of others in the market, for keeping an open routing system is very sad.  This mystifies me as an analyst and amateur historian of the telecoms and Internet industries. (I interned briefly at several pioneering Internet companies in the Boston area, and was privileged to witness some of the ‘routing and peering debates’ of the time).

10) The company has done an amazing job of protecting its clients operations and has fostered impeccable messaging reliability in the midst of this legal battle.

11) The case may be costly, frustrating, and very inconvenient for Loren Data Corp’s owner and the ops staff, as well damaging to operating margins in the very long-term, but it speaks volumes as to the  character of Todd Gould, Crystal Kuczynski, Shelly Donkin, and Kristine Finlay – all who must meet the daily challenges, retain their clients, while still winning some accounts in the process of taking on GXS – and this is amazing. There are  few allies out there, many are shy – but they come forward periodically.

12) I have seen few finer companies and certainly not  a better EDI Comms operator than Loren Data, the VAN with a  most visionary and robust architecture  designed by its founder, and coded from the ground up.  I’ve never seen a more customer-centric and motivated staff than the ECGrid Netops staff. This is a company worth advocating for.


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