Value-added networks (VANs) grew fast amid the rise of electronic data interchange (EDI). At first, these networks came with significant costs. Years later, more cost-effective internet protocols emerged as an alternative. But although B2B VAN prices later dropped, they were still expensive.
We now live in a world where VAN and point-to-point EDI coexist — each with its own pros and cons. These two worlds need alignment in today’s landscape, which is why Axway Business Network offers comprehensive support to enable modern B2B VAN connectivity.
Axway rounds out its B2B offering with API-enabled VAN
Axway Business Network is part of the B2B Integration platform. The network gives connected customers automatic access to 200+ pre-connected VANs and global private networks.
Customers don’t have to think about the complexities of individual partner information. Instead, they can exchange B2B data using preferred transfer protocols, even if they differ from their partners. All the while, consistent management for point-to-point EDI and VAN lets customers efficiently govern and track partnerships.
Axway Business Network is a game-changer, not only in the sense of how modern and efficient it is but also in its cost. Axway offers a far more affordable option compared to other B2B VAN providers, making it easy to migrate and consolidate networks.
I shared some of its features in a demo recently. Here is how easily Axway Business Network connects you to partners around the world:
Three facets of Axway Business Network
Axway Business Network gives customers a Business Network Mailbox. This is a dedicated mailbox a customer can use to exchange EDI messages with partners through available networks.
The Business Network Mailbox Connection is the one file transfer connection a customer sets up to allow access to their mailbox.
The Business Network Self-Service Portal is the user interface in Axway Business Network. A customer can use it to set up new partnerships, track transactions, create reports, access support, and more.
Here’s a look at how it works.
A real-world B2B data exchange example
Let’s say an Axway customer wants to exchange EDI files with a partner who is already connected with their VAN.
To enable message exchange, a customer only needs to know their EDI ID, their partner’s EDI ID, and their VAN provider’s name. The IDs allow both parties to be properly identified in the exchange.
This simplified approach saves customers the hassle of setting up their own FTP or AS2 server and maintaining several external partner connections. The VAN-connected partner uses the proper VAN communication protocol on their side to enable the transaction.
As referenced above, Axway would first set up a VAN mailbox that serves as a portal for the new VAN customer. The customer can adjust the mailbox settings to declare different recipients for error notifications, partnerships, etc.
This is also where customers select their preferred file transfer protocol and, if applicable, generate an API key.
Once a mailbox is set up, customers can set up test messages on the Axway platform. This step delivers peace of mind, as customers can monitor exchanges to ensure B2B communications are properly sent and received.
Delivering the B2B VAN connectivity that modern businesses need
There’s no doubt that VAN continues to play a key role in the modern B2B landscape. Nearly all bigger EDI users — for instance, a consumer goods supplier doing business with several retailers that use EDI messaging — rely on VANs to connect with partners.
At the same time, today’s B2B ecosystems are sprawling out of control, with businesses often forced to manage multiple networks. A consolidated approach using a single VAN certificate means teams don’t need to manage firewall changes, technical connections tests, and so forth.
Thanks to simplified VAN certificate and communication management, Axway Business Network makes partner onboarding can be as easy as plugging in an address.
With B2B VAN connectivity, Axway’s B2B Integration platform offers businesses the best of both worlds. Customers can choose between point-to-point EDI or VAN communications when onboarding specific partners, with streamlined management that saves time and costs.
With access to best-in-class VAN capabilities, they are equipped to make partner onboarding easier and faster than ever before.
As always, with an Axway solution, customers will enjoy the support of our business experts, who can help identify cases where it is best to use VAN or an alternative to support cost-effective operations.