AS2 vs. VAN?

It’s time to stop pitting AS2 vs. VAN!

In this blog I introduce each and show how a radical new approach has changed the discussion from AS2 vs. EDI VAN to AS2 via EDI VAN.

What is AS2?

At the highest level, when we are discussing AS2 and EDI VAN’s we are talking about the communications portion of an EDI relationship which is simply moving data between trading partners. This does not include translation or integration.

AS2 provides a secure, encrypted method of transporting data over the internet. Since data is going over the internet, there are no fees for data. The result is unlimited data – this is a key concept!

AS2 – Trading Partner Onboarding

Each trading partner must be implemented independently. To successfully onboard an AS2 trading partner takes coordination, as a number of things have to happen, including:

  • Both parties must purchase, implement AS2 software
  • Both parties need to work out firewall access and exchange certificates
  • Both parties must configure and test the entire solution to ensure successful communications.

To those of us that have done this a few times, we know that because there are a few “moving parts” the difficulty varies widely between trading partners. For established connections, troubleshooting can be challenging and require some technical expertise.

AS2 vs. VAN

An EDI Value Added Network is like a virtual post office. Each trading partner owns a mailbox and data is routed between mailboxes by the VAN. The VAN handles the setup and provides other related services.

The typical model of the VAN is in many ways the opposite of AS2. The communications piece has to be configured one time and will work for any other VAN trading partner. The VAN provides the customer support, completes communication testing, and assists with troubleshooting. However, there are typically fees based on amount of data being exchanged.

AS2 via VAN – The Best of Both Worlds

Today, it is time to get the best of both worlds: low cost, unlimited data with all of the value added services of a VAN. How? With Trading Partner Based Pricing.

This solution, low-cost VAN service based on the trading partner, not the amount of data, combines the best of AS2 with the best of a VAN:

  1.  Low Cost
  2. Unlimited Data!
  3. All the Value Added Services of a VAN
  4. Can still connect to trading partners using AS2

This solution provides a single connection point to your AS2 and VAN trading partners without the costs and headaches of supporting your own AS2 Environment.

Unlimited Data and Other Benefits

This is the key point. Because Trading Partner Based pricing does not look at data usage the result is unlimited data. For many organizations the savings can be substantial – and they add up month after month. In addition, this model provides budget predictability: there is a fixed rate per trading partner.

There is also a huge savings in time and effort. Because data is centralized through the VAN, organizations greatly limit the number of communications configurations to:

  •  Setup
  • Test
  • Support

For many organizations this can result in significant software, and personnel, and consulting costs. In addition, the VAN ensures they will present a professional, courteous, expert “face” to their trading partners because all of the setups are handled by the VAN.

Trading Partner Pricing may provide you with a single, standard solution for all of your trading partners, for less than the cost of buying and supporting an AS2 solution. Remember to count the hard and soft costs in the analysis of you current or potential AS2 implementation.

To learn more about trading partner pricing visit www.boldvan.com, the first company to mass market trading partner pricing.

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