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Xenos: B2B Over IP – Fulfilling the Promise of EDI
The days of conventional VAN-based EDI are numbered

To learn more about Xenos, go to: http://www.xenos.com

Agility, flexibility, and integrity are attributes which underscore any successful business. Typically, this success is based on the way businesses process information. From design and production, through order entry and shipping, information is the critical commodity, so much so that over the years, businesses have gone to great expense to optimize information flow within their supply chain. The reliance on EDI and x400 networks has been one such investment. Designed within a business network paradigm which existed in the 1960s, these technologies delivered a reliable and secure platform for business transaction processing. But the business paradigm has evolved in the era of the Internet and EDI Value Added Networks (VAN) have not kept pace.

eBusiness Adaptability
With the ubiquity of the Internet, an entirely new way of electronically transacting business securely has been developed to deliver on the promise offered by EDI. It's called B2B over IP, and it enables real-time straight-through processing of EDI and any other data transaction type over the Internet. The bottomline? Where VAN-based EDI is costly, complex, and restrictive, B2B over IP is cost-effective, flexible, adaptable, easy to use, and available to any company, large or small.

With B2B over IP benefits so sizable, and electronically transacted business likely to double in the next three years, it's clear that the days of conventional VAN-based EDI are numbered. The reason is simple: despite recent downward pricing pressures, EDI VANs remain too expensive for many companies. As a result, VAN-linked companies cannot fully benefit from EDI because many of their suppliers are not yet EDI enabled.

B2B over IP is another in a growing number of IP-based applications that significantly and cost-effectively improve an organization's competitive advantage by leveraging existing wide area network (WAN) investments and eliminating the need for third-party networks. As a result, adding new trading partners is simple, fast, and virtually free. And, it can be completed easily without the need for third-party intervention or even for highly-trained technical staff.

Protect Legacy EDI Investments
Another benefit of B2B over IP is that it can work seamlessly within existing EDI environments. So, if large companies are already committed to VAN-based trading practices with specific partners, they can continue these relationships and protect their legacy investments. But, at the same time, when adding new trading partners, they can leverage the Internet using a B2B over IP platform, thereby enabling electronic trading with any company-not just those who can afford VANs-in any data format.

Securely Transact In Any Data Format
Dealing with multiple trading partners involves a myriad of possible data formats. In order to achieve the full benefits of B2B over IP, solutions must offer secure, authenticated, auditable, and guaranteed delivery of messages for all types of electronic transactions, not just those transported in EDI formats.

Equally, it's not enough for B2B over IP solutions to simply transform data from one format to another. As today's electronic transaction environments become increasingly hectic, involving spiraling numbers of transactions, solutions must be highly scalable, a capability only possible when transformation is performed in real time. Transformation engines that are XSLT- or ETL-based are hamstrung by their high processing overhead; these batch technologies require that data be validated before it is processed.

By comparison, transformation engines that are based on XML rules eliminate the two-steps. The result? Companies relying on XML rules-based transformation engines report impressive throughput of up to 150,000 transactions per hour. Such speeds are critical in B2B over IP environments. So too is the importance of high-speed transformation under load, for example, where EDI invoices must be routed, separately from csv-based payments. At the end of the day, the speed of transaction to cash is mission critical.

B2B over IP solutions stand apart from VAN-based EDI because they do not require the high costs, complexities, and time delays associated with third-parties for implementation and maintenance. Moreover, when designed as an off-the-shelf solution that is simple and adaptable, they deliver a significantly reduced total cost of ownership.

In short, companies are able to sign new business, expand into new markets, and compete in ways not otherwise possible. With the right B2B over IP solution businesses can get off the VAN, get on the EDI bandwagon, broaden their universe of trading partners, and facilitate fast straight-through processing of any type of electronic transaction over existing Internet connections. All more cost-effectively than VAN-based EDI.

Xenos
95 Mural Street, Suite 201
Richmond Hill, ON
Canada L4B 3G2

www.xenos.com

To learn more about Xenos, go to: http://www.xenos.com

About the Author
Patrick Smith is the Director of Product Management for XML products at Xenos. Patrick's area of specialty is the development and deployment of global software applications employing distributed object technology and software reuse. He has over 14 years of experience in the customer relationship management, information technology, and telecommunications fields.

About IT Solutions Guide
IT Solutions Guide (ITSG), aimed at development and corporate managers, is a free quarterly supplement focusing on the most competitive tools, solutions, and services available in the IT and infrastructure technology world today.

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