An Influential and Long-Lived Partnership – SPS Commerce and Loren Data Corp solidify their relationship

And in other developments, Loren Data Corp and its major account relation, SPS Commerce, are finally pulling in the same, sane, direction:

SPS CEO, Archie Black, now stands with Loren Data Corp President Todd Gould, endorsing Mr. Gould’s vision of how connected markets should work.

Most important is that these two companies will now directly oppose the worn out GXS notion that Daisy Chaining (a term of art) is a deficient topology in a networked system, as GXS would have an uninformed public believe. The absolute opposite is true, as we all know: Good Networks Hop Well. Internetwork systems, message routing systems, and WANs, all tolerate and even optimize for hand-offs to cooperative systems. The internet is Daisy Chaining made a science. Email, as the “killer application” of the Internet, is designed to tolerate N-relays.

Furthermore, if your messaging system can not tolerate intermediate routing, enhanced traffic handling, or more than one hop, then your technology is questionable and deficient. Make no mistake, my colleagues, when GXS says, Daisy Chain, they mean, “we want both ends of all supply chain transactions, the hub and the spoke, all to be resident on GXS VANs….period.    

SPS Commerce, having spoken out in direct public support of Loren Data Corp, has underscored the competency and operational excellence of Loren Data, as SPS’ preferred EDI messaging provider.  Todd Gould, Loren Data Corp President and CTO , designed the efficient and innovative ECGrid VAN,  the ECGridOS Web Services API, Unified AS2, and a new generation of products emerging from this intrepid and resilient thought leader of the EDI communications sector, and his scalable ECGrid platform.

This approbation by SPS Commerce signals that more stable times are potentially within reach for the interconnected VAN sector. SPS and Loren Data, two upstart companies with remarkably individualistic and obstinate leaders, will be working together to improve the stability of the EDI sector, as they wield their combined influence to safeguard and stabilize the integrity and deliverability of EDI interchanges across the global mesh of cooperating interconnected VANs and service providers.

This partnership should reassure nervous CIOs’ and supply chain managers – especially those seeking a path beyond the GXS induced network discontinuities, that there are options for these disillusioned, soon-to-be ex-GXS customers.


Interpreting OpenText’s Planned Acquisition of GXS

What does the OpenText acquisition of GXS mean for the industry?

The following are my personal observations regarding the GXS acquisition by OpenText. First, these have been calls, too many to return today, many from colleagues in product advocacy. I will return as many calls as possible.

I have always thought that OpenText has been on the right track  since their acquisition of Hummingbird. In the late 1990’s EDM market, Opentext was somewhat the laggard, compared to Hummingbird and certain other document management and knowledge discovery products. Such was that heady era, with tremendous energy misspent on XML databases and such.  OpenText navigated the morass admirably, and kept an eye on capital mobilization, thereby becoming the unquestioned leader in Enterprise Data management and knowledge discovery.

A good example, one of many acquisitions by OpenText was Nstein software, a stroke of genius which brought Opentext into the forefront of text mining, knowledge analysis, and conceptual text element and entity scoring. Bravo. I had delivered a white paper to France Telecom in 2007 on the text mining sector, and Nstein was one of the recommended vendors that had visited France Telecom’s R&D Lab to present their Text Analysis Toolkit SDK. OpenText, unlike France Telecom, had the expertise and cohesive vision to subsume text analysis into their market facing line.  Very few analysts watching the EIM sector comprehend that executing this strategy takes an amazing constancy of vision. 

With the buyout of EasyLink, OpenText purchased a dual technology property with a workmanlike infrastructure. EasyLink had the virtue of being an ex-AT&T property that enjoyed having adequate resources to operate and compete effectively. With the EasyLink’s capture of ICC, the company was able to absorb a highly contemporary and functional EDI communications architecture. EasyLink, as one of the last ‘branded’ legacy VANs, is considered an operation that basically works. The company also has electronic fax and unified voice services, which is very popular with SME’s through the large enterprise.

Analysts with sharp recall see that OpenText’s acquisition of Rightfax, again, shows a portfolio strategy that just makes sense.

One of my sources disclosed that OpenText was researching the possibility of “componentized EDI Communications”,  or EDI Comms as encapsulated services, reduced to a standardized, end-to-end protocol, like email, which is quite different from how today’s VANs handle EDI messaging.  We shall see. I can say that my contacts in EDI network operations have stated that Easylink operations and internetwork relations have not been degraded since the OpenText acquisition.

If we look well past the structural finance issues dogging GXS , which OpenText is perfectly able to address, the most vexing issue remains GXS induced interference in the transit of EDI messages between the Marquee Hubs residing on GXS VANs,  and their trading partners, who are often SPS Commerce subscribers. In other networked markets, these anticompetitive acts would result in a tariff violation, a common carrier enforcement penalty, and be regarded by most as an egregious breach of trust.

The question thereby becomes, will OpenText allow such unfettered abuses to continue? I am 100% sure that Opentext CEO, Mark J. Barrenechea, would more likely take a pro market position, and establish the new GXS as a good network citizen within the global mesh of interconnected commerce networks.