Value-Added Networks (VANs) have been around for more than 30 years. But today’s VAN is definitely not your father’s VAN. VANs have evolved from simply being a managed network on which to exchange EDI information and documents between a company and its trading partners to a more robust service that includes not only the network but also a variety of services aimed at facilitating more effective commerce amongst numerous organizations.
Today’s more advanced offerings – which are more often being referred to as business to business (B2B) integration or even simply business integration services – that include hosted document exchange and managed services offerings. Among the services are combined EDI/XML B2B integration (B2Bi), enterprise application integration (EAI), business process management (BPM), and managed file transfer (MFT) capabilities.
According to Gartner, in its “Market Trends: Multienterprise/B2B Infrastructure Market, Worldwide, 2009-2014” report, B2B integration requires the integration of more than just two applications. Today there is demand for much deeper and broader levels of integration that span companies and involves numeours organizations. Coming soon… cloud applications will be included in this fray. Gartner writes in its report: “The “dumb” network that used to only transfer bulk files between applications and trading partners is turning into a “smart” network that incorporates diverse integration functionality, including communications, translation and workflow, increasingly implemented by application vendors and users using an SOA. The B2B discipline also now must include cloud services integration — for example, how to link services from solutions such as salesforce.com to on-premises applications.”