Let us set the record straight on a few technical items. EDI is a generic term that has been likened to mean a standard like X12 or EDIFACT. When you check the acronyms you find it means Electronic Data Interchange. Electronic Data section of EDI can come in a variety of formats: X12, edi edifact, CSV, XML, fixed-length records, etc. Interchange parts can occur by using a number of protocols: FTP, HTTP, SMTP, AS2, etc.
The role of VAN
Now that we have covered the basic requirements, let's talk about the role of Value Added Network (VAN). As the name implies this service adds value to the world of data exchange. Some values are to understand how to use all the protocols to exchange data in various formats, but most of the value is to take the data received from various partners in multiple formats through multiple protocols and provide a single format in a single protocol for the receiving data.
In other words, VAN performs all communication and translation (all the hard work) in the world of electronic data interchange. If the receiving entity can get all their partners to send them the same data in the same format by using the same protocol at all times, the value of VAN will be reduced but not eliminated. VAN also eliminates the use of non-core tasks of your business.
Who has time to worry about whether all the data moving everywhere it should be all day? You may not, but do VAN providers. No matter the format of the data, almost always there is a need to translate inbound data to the data of "I". Companies simply do not speak the same language no matter what. Mainly because they all have different systems.
So we know that the VAN can translate data from one format to another, and send it using any protocol, let's talk a little about VAN more value can be added: data validation, data integrity, mailbox, data consolidation and deconsolidation, the ability to store and forward, set the flow of data, and more. Again, it is the core of your business?