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Traditionally, EDI transactions are seen to be of two types: 1) on the VAN or 2) between VANs. The latter have been called Interconnects.
While Interconnects have been much maligned, the fact is Interconnects are the cornerstone of network-based EDI. Imagine telephone service without long distance, cities without highways between them or economies without shipping. In short, Interconnects make electronic commerce possible.
From its inception, ECGrid has been conceived as an Interconnect Infrastructure. By focusing on the connection between systems, and making it a highly reliable and highly accountable system, traditional VANs and other Electronic Commerce Service Providers (ECSPs) can focus on the "Value Added" side of the equation and transfer skilled resources from the "Network" side.
ECGrid provides complete end-to-end tracking of all traffic between networks.
Trading Partner Directory?
There is one fundamental flaw in how Trading Partners are managed throughout EDI: There is no central directory of Trading Partners and their Qualifier/IDs (QIDs).
No VAN or any other ECSP has any way to lookup on which system any specific Trading Partner is located. Each tries to maintain its own internal database. Tens of thousands of transactions are lost everyday because of this.
Loren Data has offered up access to its directory to be a central depository of this information for the industry. Through ECGridOS, every network can automate the maintenance of its own customers, and automate lookups for all Interconnect traffic.
Value Added Networks
One of the biggest issues is in creating the Interconnect in the first place. Different VANs have different routing philosophies. The three major ones are as follows:
- Routes globally based on the Receiver QID. Will route even if the Sender QID is unknown.
- Routes globally based on the Receiver QID. Will block incoming interchanges from unknown Sender QIDs.
- Routes based on Sender/Receiver pair. Will block all interchanges unless a Trading Partner Relationship has been created.
ECGrid's expert system understands the requirements of each network and properly configures each Interconnect Request and efficiently follows each request to its completion.