Focus on Hubs – One ofThree Types of EDI Customers
Let's characterize the three types of EDI customers:
(2) Spokes (low turnover of trading partners but higher technical requirements)
(3) Ecommerce Service Providers (ECSB) (a “hybrid” with high turnover rate, deal with all implementation guides, and amount to a “Hub of Spokes”). An ECSP is what we previously called VAS (value added services) such as SPS Commerce.
EDI data has historically been exchanged between business partners through value-added network services (VANS), employing a simple hub-and-spoke model, the business partners being the spokes and the VAN operators assuming the central hub role. While being quite effective in the pre-Internet era, VANS are hardly competitive anymore. However, more recent approaches to the reliable exchange of EDI data like EDIINT AS/2 create new issues: While eliminating the VANS's high volume costs, Internet-based point-to-point approaches like AS/2 dramatically increase the one-off setup costs by requiring all participants to assume server roles, not just a single dedicated hub. While acceptable for large companies, this is bad news for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Now a major corporation, with several hundred suppliers, can operate their own VAN2 (today's technology) instead of hiring a VAN1 (the “traditional” VAN from the 1980's). The major corporation already issues it's own EDI Conventions to trading partners. They have a contact network already through the EDI organization and through their procurement organization. They can take advantage of the SuperHUB to make the job easier and to save money with tools more focused on the trading partner community, TP self-configuration, one-to-many relationships, communications, etc. The SuperHUB provides major EDI hubs with the power previously only available to eCommerce Service Providers.
The SuperHUB user running it's own show brings all their trading partners into one, low maintenance, consolidated mailbox. Whether they are on VANS, eCSPs or AS2, all the EDI transactions flow through one, managed connection. Through the Commercial Networking layer, each trading partner spoke maintains its own profile, allowing traffic to flow to the right place without any management attention required by the hub company.