The Value-Added Network is All But Gone from the B2B Supply Chain Toolkit
- June 25th, 2014
- By: Scott Robinson
Since Wal-Mart moved away from value-added networks for B2B document exchange in 2003, the death of traditional VANs has been inevitable. Predictions of the extinction of the VAN have appeared steadily ever since.
The remaining players have been gobbled up in a flurry of acquisitions in recent years: Inovis, for instance, was purchased by GXS, which was in turn purchased by Open Text. A few are surviving through adaptation, such as Covisint, which caters largely to the healthcare industry and is high-teching into non-traditional territory (the cloud, identity management as a service).
The VAN has died slowly because traditional EDI has died slowly. That slow death has derived from the lack of a clear successor technology. XML has long been touted as the natural heir for B2B data exchange and systems integration, and with the rapid proliferation of web services, it is now ubiquitous.
The advent of AS4, the web service-friendly successor to AS2 (EDI’s Internet-based innovation), closes the gap for EDI-dependent B2B partners seeking to shed the expense and trouble of VAN data transport, by simplifying web service-based data exchange implementations and enhancing endpoint availability robustness.