Broken-ChainAs OpenText acquires GXS there are some opportunities available to the now combined company to pursue its mission. We reported a couple weeks ago about the acquisition (here).

The company would appear to be positioned to bring the EDI/VAN industry well into the 21st Century in the same way its other acquisitions have proven to be assets. GXS fits naturally into OpenText's EIM (Enterprise Information Management) theme. It would be a shame to miss an opportunity to prevent an impending “EDI train wreck” that could destroy existing relationships with the EDI industry and the company's stated desire to “be trusted in our relationships”.

GXS is acting on its plan to terminate all connectivity with Loren Data’s ECGrid on March 4, 2014. An action that will affect more than 2,000 GXS customers and their 10,000 trading partnerships. GXS made good on refusing any new partnerships with companies on ECGrid after 1/1/2014.

There are some parallels with other industries. For example the telephone industry is not only regulated, but has common and published routing tables and routines. The Internet industry is just now beginning to see some attempts at non-regulation with the debate about 'net-neutrality' that will provide the ability to offer better deliverability to those paying the highest rates. The software industry (outside of EDI and some software giants) thrives on working well with other software companies (most of the time). Easy cloud integrations let you add features and tools from a variety of vendors through standardized and well documented interfaces. A great example of this is Highrise CRM . Highrise mashes up with many other cloud services such as Zopin for web chat, Wufoo for web forms, MailChimp for e-mail, etc.

The VAN industry has survived by limiting access and being a closed loop. In many cases, VANs have worked to keep the door shut to new entrants. This is in a networked industry that has NO synchronized or shared routing tables, NO directory services, and NO industry group coordinating issues. It can be argued that since the development of the X12.56 Mailbag, the standard has not been raised for 20 years.

The opportunity on the table for OpenText is to create a more open environment that thrives by expansion rather than by restriction. One way to promote this is to keep the links in place with Loren Data, then work on improvements.
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