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EDI Case Study

A small VAN provided EDI services for small business suppliers of large concerns. These clients lacked the scope and technical expertise to implement their own supplier EDI interface and thus the VAN provided a proprietary client allowing the entry and reception of EDI transactions from these suppliers. The proprietary client communicated with a proprietary server via dial-up asynchronous data communication circuits. The VAN communicated with their customers' business partners via dial-up synchronous data communication circuits. Any client change required re-issue and distribution of a revised client program. Skills to update the client or server code were difficult to obtain and changes to the either the client, server, or both were very expense, difficult to implement with high quality, and were not scalable. The server was provided with a combination of a proprietary server component with annual support fees and a library of scripts.

EBDX recommended and implemented a web-based replacement. All processing now occurs in service-based Java code removing the need for any client code deployment. The client code and asynchronous data communication were replaced with a standards-based web browser and simple SHTTP/TCP communication protocols. Server-side communications were modularized and replaced with a variety of modernized communications protocols acceptable to the various trading partners, including SFTP, SSL encryption over FTP, PGP encryption over FTP, and other proprietary schemes required by specific trading partners. The server components were supported with an Open Source database and web server components with no annual support fees. Customer confidentiality was enhanced through the use of encrypted communications through all segments of communication. Support for a greater variety of clients was provided thorough the modular implementation. Skills for updating and enhancing the system are now easily and inexpensively obtainable. Changes that previously required weeks to implement, test, and deploy can now be done in hours. Data quality and consistency was enhanced by the removal of differing clients with subtly different implementations.

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