As a boy, I can remember throwing a tent and a sleeping bag in my backpack and tromping around the hills looking for a place to set camp. The space needed to be flat. Have trees for shade. Maybe some rocks to place around a fire.
Ideally, I would find some space that was big enough that the area itself could not constrain anything I would hope to set up. A platform.
Different websites offer varying definitions of a platform. PCmag.com states a platform to be, “A software environment that is used to write applications and run them,” using .NET and Java as platform examples. This is the common understanding of a platform, yet outdated.
Adrian Bridgewater articulates a more modern and brilliant view stating, “a platform to be anything that you can build upon,” just like the space I looked for when camping.
Platform capabilities are often not considered when selecting an electronic data interchange Value-added Network (EDI VAN). A company may evaluate its current needs and seek the most affordable solution. This may seem like the best choice, but as the company grows, it may outgrow the VAN, and the pricing may drastically change.
Here are some platform supporting characteristics when shopping EDI VANs:
The VAN you select should be operating on a network that is updating to modern technologies as they become available. This ensures optimal speeds for EDI transmissions. Moreover, integration capabilities are constantly improving. A platform will allow you to access many features and programs from one place. You want a modern network that supports EDI data exchanging from any number of trading partners at any given time.
Competing EDI VANs offer different features. Some VANs simply move EDI data from A to B. Others may not only move EDI data but also allow you to manage your EDI data. You should know how long you may access sent and received documents, how your VAN formats EDI data, whether you will need additional software to translate your EDI data, or hardware to store it. Does the VAN operate from the cloud? Cloud capabilities may permit you to manage your EDI service from any device. Your VAN should support any protocol used by your trading partners.
A feature-rich EDI VAN optimizes both your EDI service and your EDI experience. You will enjoy a user-focused intuitive EDI VAN much more than one that just moves data.
Your pricing needs may change drastically from year to year. If you are a startup with aspirations of significant growth, selecting a VAN with pricing that supports this growth is vital. Essentially, every VAN will give you better pricing when transmitting more EDI data with more trading partners. However, not recognizing when to renegotiate pricing may be significant oversight.
Most VANs still charge based on the amount of data exchanging on their network. BOLD VAN is the first EDI VAN to offer trading partner pricing. With different tiers of pricing depending on the number of trading partners you trade within a given billing cycle, pricing automatically adjusts based on your EDI activity for the month. This method of billing is ideal for any growing or established company.
Finding an EDI VAN with reachable support is vital. When you need to troubleshoot possible issues or errors, speedy and effective resolution will give you peace of mind and keep B2B relationships positive. Ensure your VANs support availability matches not only your needs but also the needs of your trading partners. Not to mention, you want to enjoy every feature offered by your VAN, and you want them to work harmoniously.
BOLD VAN radically changed the EDI VAN market by introducing trading partner pricing. BOLD VAN’s impact continues by offering EDI management portals, BOLD Manager and BOLD Enterprise, giving you access to all your EDI data and transmission statuses from a user-focused and attractive interface you can access from any device.
When shopping VANs, raise your expectations. Find one that is as ambitious and competitive as you.