EDI VANs Are Undefined At Best


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VAN (Value Added Network) has history but no formal defining document. It isn’t part of the X12 and isn’t anywhere required. There is a lack of an existing generally accepted definition of what a VAN is. We will tie this in with the notion that they exist for the purpose of promoting and enabling transfer of data between trading partners, but that they are not a requirement of the process or infrastructure.
Earlier this year, I wrote on “What Is EDI? – A Definition and History“. I concentrated more on the standardization of DOCUMENTS, not how to exchange them. I covered how the Transportation Data Coordinating Committee (TDCC) morphed into the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and became the ANSI X12 Committee and how on the other side of the ocean, standards for documents used in international trade, called Tradacoms , were developed. These bodies adequately took care of controls for individual documents and multiple documents (mailbags, etc.), but nary a word about actual delivery to the trading partner. It was left up to the user, but the vendors jumped into the drivers seat.

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