State of Networked Messaging 2016

State of Networked Messaging 2016 

bizQuirk (Wilensky et al)

Abstract

Transactional Messaging, particularly in the B2B / Supply Chain domain, has been undergoing a series of protracted upheavals for the last decade, some would say longer. VANs, once the stalwarts of messaging sector, find themselves at the end of a long wind down, despite a hectic period of consolidation at the hands of professional PE.

The service once known as EDI messaging (at one time owned by VANs – period full stop), until recently, purchased as ala carte services, is being increasingly mutated into embedded functions within Enterprise Software and B2B platform services (SAAS).

And so on; change being the reliable constant in all things relating to vendor community management in the retail and manufacturing supply networks.

This article is condensed from the larger body of supply chain systems analysis compiled by the authors over the course of 2015, with an eye to calling the dance for 2016 – so far, the data has tracked accurately. Continue reading

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Thought Leaders of 2016’s EDI Subsector

Identifying Prototypical Thought Leaders of 2016’s EDI Subsector
Saving what remains of the Supply Chain and Manufacturing centric transactional messaging market.

Executive Summary

The remaining EDI networks (VANs) post consolidation will require an invigorating outside presence or the guiding hands of smart and savvy veterans to turn around the present sorry state of affairs the industry finds itself in. Examined in this monograph: Who will step forward to right the ship, set a good example, and be Stewards to the EDI Networked Messaging Subsector??

Identifying those “Most Likely to Have a Positive Impact (i.e. Heros) is not challenging, because the opposite stands in stark evidentiary contrast by the PE stoked leviathans still haunting the sector, despite the inherent rot festering within their C-Suites and emanating outwards to their client / victims.

Eliminate the Negative

Postmortem rehashing of the VAN consolidation era – is too depressing to enrobe in ASCII characters, therefore we start with a positive note.

VANs consolidation stoked by PE has have perfected nothing but a talent for disappointing clients. If the 2015 Q3 IT support surveys are credible, Liaison and OpenText have taken X number of EDI networks of varying quality, and transformed them into two logical networks of the poorest quality.

As these megaliths have no founders skin left in the game, no original team equity, and having terminated, bought out, or fired the most experienced (and therefore costly) Software Engineering talent – where does the market now turn in this new year of 2016 for real, functional, EDI Communications services?

Accentuate the Positive

The EDI communications sector has its stalwart Founder / Engineers that have stayed in the sector. The this post was originally going to call these folks, “heros”, but I think I might call them them, “righteous gluttons for punishment”, as the term ‘martyr’ has been corrupted of late, but I digress.

These folks have chosen to fight rather than run, have elected to evolve their product roadmaps and innovate, despite a dark miasma that persists in hanging above the EDI sector like a pall.

We can readily identify these True Stewards.

They all have been very visible in the EDI forums, on linkedin, on EDI-L, everywhere being as outspoken as possible. Many write informative, almost scholarly (but always practical) articles and posts on topics that are timely, sometimes controversial, and occasionally arrow-like in their topicality.

Sometimes I wish they would state what is on my mind, and then I remember that they have a business to run, employees to pay, and that such hit and run commentary is better left to the analysts – that’s what we do,

How do we recognize them by their attributes? Well, at least informally, they write no filler – period full stop. They are deadly serious, but paradoxically sometimes hilarious in the midst of their pontifications – especially when debating a fellow EDI thought leader on the technical merits of somesuch standard or software engineering technique – protocols are always good fodder for debate, and then we can spot two of these giants at work.

But here is a better list that characterizes the personalities and their organizations generally, for their hard won positive attributes:

  1. They are Founder / Owners of closely-held corporations.
  2. The Founder(s) is often an Engineer or a scientist that has driven the original and often the continuing product or service vision of the Corp.
  3. They are a population of exemplary bootstrappers; known for shunning outside capital; if persuaded to dilute holdings, they do so cautiously. This has been the case when time-to-scale is at stake.
  4. Most of these EDI Leaders are at least a decade plus into their maturity cycle of providing services, delivering products, and generating solid net revenues.
  5. Most of them have been reliably making payroll for many years. They are responsible people.
  6. They have built handpicked teams, not general hires. One can plainly see a mentor / coach model. Their staff tenures exceed 65-75% of the company’s age.

Personal and business reputation, creditworthiness, and credibility is a watchword and life principle for these thought-leaders, they will not sacrifice their moral standing for temporal gains.

They are inherent, inveterate innovators. They own the knowledge space wherein they practice and do business – they are not threatened by colleagues who are worthy and just as opinionated. Without exception, all are the final authorities for advice in the highly technical arenas and scientific specialties where they practice.

I am never surprised when one of these, often a new client, shows me that they are also just as competent and expert in a completely unrelated field of scientific or technical endeavor, or in a difficult to master art.

Do you knows these leaders of the EDI sector? Can you name two or three? As a Tribute, I will name a few in the next post, and write a bit in what they have contributed to the art of transactional messaging or data layer services, etc.

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.

Enough said about GXS Anonymous Coward Shills

Everybody get it by now why they do what they do?
2.3 70 reviews

Employees are “Dissatisfied”   70 ratings

2.3
Career Opportunities     Comp & Benefits     Culture & Values     Work/Life Balance     Senior Management

32% Approve of the CEO

GXS President and CEO Bob Segert

Bob Segert

(37 ratings)

Who defends GXS actions under alias?

Im sure that most freelance EDI Guys and Product or Sector Advocate / Analysts are busy guys and gals, getting work done or finding new work, even when you are presently engaged, ’cause that’s how us self-employed guys do it….and our customers know that we are always prospecting. My last (+1/2 time to way past full-time) engagement has run longer than any previous client workload, and for that, I am very thankful.

But I keep feelers out, and make a few calls, and some people call me, actually…it’s true! And someone took an alias, and kinda made my day, because if you read the coward’s verbiage, you can tell who he works for. It’s that transparent.   And, Comments are always open on this blog. 

This guy or GXS gal, is very, very unhappy that I’m going to market with four years of GXS opposition, competitive, and client-polling  research and interviews because I never would have compiled this data if not for GXS’ Interconnection abuse campaign waged under the pen of Steve Scala, and also likely by one or two more vindictive GXS evil mini exec’s –

because after a half-year of  playing ECGridOS API Evangelist (last half of 2009 and the first half of 2010) – things were going pretty-pretty-pretty well (Thanks to Larry David) . Continue reading

The Socialization of the Supplier Integration Sector

In my daily work as an Industry Analyst and Solutions Advocate, I am finding that the terms, “social supply chain”, and “supplier collaboration” are showing up with increasing frequency. However,  the inclusion of  opportunistic communications supplementing a supply chain infrastructure (these include EDI-based systems such as ordering automation, e-Invoicing, and generic supplier enabling); needs to be well understood and carefully implemented. I am  emphatically a proponent of fresh ideas, and  firmly in favor of  enhancing supplier autonomy.  However,  many B2B platforms, even those developed by experienced companies, fall victim to featuritis – the addition of functions without a concomitant understanding of what or who they serve.  If the industry as a whole simply must conceptualize the benefits of social media on supply chain IT, let’s at least think it through, together. Here are some elementary concepts in brief:

Today, we practice top down supplier management – something that  looks and feels inflexible to most suppliers –

cloudap

“thou shalt use this Implementation Guide”, thou shalt use X12 850 or EDIFACT ###,  with these modifications”. – – -well…that seems at odds with any vendor’s ideal model. The VANs, as a group, have offered communications and connection to ERP and order + shipping. That’s nice. Continue reading

EDI Communications – a Sector Stifled by an Arrested Architecture and …..

Will Open Routing save the EDI communications Sector?

Offered here is a brief observation of Connected Markets:

1) What’s good for the network is good for the subscribers,

2)  What’s good for subscribers, is good for the networked market.

The reciprocal traffic exchange agreements used by Value Added Network providers  (EDI communications for retail and manufacturing supply chains) are a good example of agreements  designed for the  good of the subscribers.  Being able to transact with any trading partner on any VAN makes perfect sense. The EDI Comms Market, as presently operated by most VANs and service providers will  not be a good place to innovate and capitalize  if  traffic reciprocity  is reduced to mere leverage to kill  off one’s competitors. 

The silent ascent to GXS traffic routing abuses is quite  troubling, to say the least, as a failure to act on behalf of the market’s best interests. The Parent Companies who recently acquired  a few well-used VANs: Opentext, IBM, and Liaison – To my Colleagues….I ask why?

by Alan D. Wilensky

Rising above the noise can be a challenge. The coverage of the B2B IT market can only be termed followers ink, with the GXS Inovis Merger a particularly toothsome example that deeply scarred my bright-eyed innocence. Witnessing the misplaced,  corrupt hosannas flowing from the analyst’s pens, was doubly disturbing, due to the complete absence of any countervailing  opinion recommending against the acquisition.

Fortunately, true quality cannot be hidden, nor can it hide. Innovation that begets the rare, defining methodology, or a new architecture, is unmistakably genuine and  instantly recognizable. Professionals with highly tuned discernment routinely detect the false notes of those crowing about innovation, which invariably is traced to a corporate leadership wafting their lack of credibility behind them.

Private or Sovereign Equity constructs an ersatz business entity that self declares its leadership, and purchases such a large subscriber pool, so that the Golem is briefly insulated  from the consequences of  misguided, anti-networked market policies. Inevitably, the truth leaks out. PE can’t acquire a founder’s heart, dominance of will, or the loyalty of a leader’s key line-management. Massive funding in order to  exploit the sharpest blade in the network effect toolkit…..is a strategy missed by our erstwhile regulators for a year, two, or even three, but even AT&T faced a massive divestiture and consent decree. But for those in the vanguard, time is in short supply, and such vanguard thinkers are by their nature, impatient.

There is an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction in the EDI Comms market; I believe that new opportunities will be actualized when a forum for innovation (fixing B2B message routing and traffic reciprocity) is created. Such is lacking in the present B2B market. To compete in the open, by one’s wits, showcasing an unmistakable sense of  quality and fitness, this is the arena sought by revolutionary thinkers in the B2B sector. That  is what I fight for in each and every engagement.

This sector is somewhat moribund; and if not entirely devoid of ideas, it exists as if arrested in the course a puberty of sorts, an adolescence that has endured far too long.  With the heydays of the VAN era  well past the sell by date of its peak, circa 1990-2005.

We are left with a comms market reliant on IP transport, which is fine.  The present application layer addressing scheme using an embedded envelope segment network addresses,  has potential advantages,  but these efficiencies remain theoretical due to inefficiencies in the present InterVAN routing regime.  A stillborn, application layer messaging market is the result of this stasis.

Moaning  about the  sector’s malaise and inefficiencies does absolutely nothing. Here are the hot button issues from my non-attributed survey research:

  • Industry-wide adoption of Machine Accessible Directory Services (enable ID portability and efficient migrations).
  • Standards-based  InterVAN attachment –   adhering to the standard allows placement of data on the inter-network paths.
  • Elimination of 1:1 interconnects in favor of  hierarchical routing.
  • Permissive attachment. Acts as a hedge against  exploitation of routing borders, or worse.  Routing exploitation is damaging to the entire industry.  The health of the market suffers when inter-network message handling is perverted.
  • The Reorganization of a EDI Communications Industry Association, CTO board seats. No agendas allowed other than the perfection of layer seven addressing and routing.
  • Give thought leaders and architects their just due, let the self nominated leaders show some stewardship by facilitation and sponsorship.

To be large, to have thousands of employees, to have the immense backing of PE – these attributes are all one-dimensional. They symbolize nothing that is intellectually substantial or emblematic of  a Company’s thought leadership.

However, size  and other headline-readable attributes , are not in any sense distinctive  to subscribers, to customers.

Professional B2B ventures adopting a platform after a stringent vetting are the true coin of the  realm. New B2B ventures bring a discerning yardstick to the sector, conducting nuanced platform research to attain  specific goals. Entrepreneurs, even in B2B IT,  balance innovation against risk.

If a platform delivers truly, the entrepreneurs  will adopt with calculated precision. In healthy connected markets, tools and entrepreneurial dynamism create all kinds of  synergy; the relationships created among platform builders and the application pioneers will create some of the most enduring partnerships to emerge from the B2B sector wars.

Is change possible in the VAN market, or are the recent consolidations and sell-outs simply the preface to the ultimate VAN exodus, and a step toward alternative systems and technologies?

Your collegial comments are welcome.

Standing Alone and standing fast, as the allies fled.

Standing Alone and standing fast, as the allies fled.

The boldest, bravest action I have ever witnessed in  business (where self-sacrifice is rare), is the antitrust lawsuit initiated by Todd Gould, Founder of Loren Data Corp, against the PE-funded B2B leviathan,  GXS Inc.

The EDI Communications market predated, then adopted Internet Protocol as the bearer of EDI data. All original Value Added Networks began life as circuit switched and leased line (PSTN) modem pools that were the original progenitors of A2A  routing.  In the 1970’s, as EDI became established in manufacturing supply chains, interconnection  physical via bisynch – but all of it taken together was a replacement for telex and twx (the original global message system for manufacturing) – these were tariffed teletype services, i.e., regulated by the FCC, as common carriage, and each message had bailment attached ….(each message was considered valuable and the carriers took responsibility for timely delivery of each message.) Telegraphy services could not refuse to relay traffic to competitive carriers  – thus one component of Common Carriage is Interconnection).

Computers and Data networking was a new concept to the regulators;  non-voice, packet store and forward using computers as switching and application host, was not only novel, but it gave rise to  new innovations and potential abuse.   FCC undertook “The Computer Inquiries”, a grand colloquy of testimony from experts and industry leaders, with the goal of determining if new regulations would be required to steer the FCC’s system of bureau-based enforcement, and the administrative law panels that heard testimony and adjudicated petitions for Common Carrier, Wireline Competition, Broadband, and several other communications markets.  The Telecommunications Reform Act of  1996, which deregulated a most of the content and pure data infrastructure  of  the IP universe, created and compounded confusion arising amongst EDI networks, or VANs, that were application layer 7 data messaging services. The FCC erred terribly in failing to tariff EDI Communications, and left a fallow field to wither under the 96 Act. Any company participating in the EDI driven supply chains, from the largest retailers to the tiniest suppliers, now has an AT&T style, most toxic monopoly to contend with – and this all courtesy of the FCC, and more recently, the USDOJ….now  in my estimation the most ineffective competition regulators in the entire Milky Way…along with Great Britain’s Office of Fair Trading. Exactly what does a true monopoly look like to these “govt chair sitters”.

“Non-Settlement” is the key Term-of-Art in Understanding VAN Interconnects

Interconnections between the legacy VANs, whether via hard-lines, modems, or IP virtual circuits in later days primarily refer to data carriage between two competing VANs, VAN interconnect agreements in the Internet era are “non-settlement, message traffic exchange agreements” –  a complex jumble of words for a the practical  accommodations made by the VANs to facilitate bidirectional messaging between any two subscribers on competing Networks.

Illumination:

Interconnections were deemed a market-driven necessity by the earliest VANs, as the first adopters would never have acceded to the requirement of corralling 100% of their suppliers on one VAN (these clients were powerful automotive manufacturing and shipping lines). EDI would thrive  only in a competitive market where subscriber choice came first. The  freedom to choose a VAN without the concern of routing dead-ends, kept the business healthy for years. Until the GXS fiasco, that is.

The freedom to choose or move to a competing VAN was ensured by liberal interconnection. This is the reason why networked markets deemed important by  the FCC always mandate  interconnection via tariff.

EDI messages between two transacting parties (a supplier Invoices a Retailer, in response to a purchase order) are bidirectional and balanced in terms of the messages sent and received, Therefore, VANs do not settle billing for interconnect traffic. it nets out to zero.

VAN subscribers pay for the messages sent and received  by volume measured in KC (kilo characters). VANs have historically granted interconnects under fairly permissive guidelines, especially in the industry’s earliest days until the dawn of the 2000’s, The mostly accepted formula for granting semi durable, interVAN connections is as thus:

“if a competing VAN requests a “trading partnership’ be setup with a subscriber on the home VAN, an interconnection will be established upon confirmation of the mutual trading parties”. Viola.

The most public and infamous refusal to interconnect was PE Funded GXS Inc,. against Loren Data Corp. The background of the dispute is covered by the author in several articles on this site. The important point is that the Founder of Loren Data Corp, Todd Gould, initiated the antitrust case against GXS, using his personal resources.

In our numerous public appeals to an industry which would anticipate future  deleterious actions of such pan-market sabotage, not one other company stepped forth to join the fight, or  came to the aid of Loren Data  Corp’s legal initiative –  though GXS’ damaging InterVAN traffic routing was  actually a preemptive strike against the Service Provider Sector.

GXS, having become all but unstoppable  due to its  purchase of  three major VANs,   had  leveraged a Network Effect routing  coup,  the likes of which the VAN sector had never imagined nor experienced before. The service providers as a collective group with no unity whatsoever, had no idea how to deal with these burnt earth. GXS tactics. So, with almost no  opposition, except what Todd Gould could muster. The result  a sector that has, by inaction, procured a malevolent dictatorship; a private enterprise controlling an increasing number of “magnet destination   network addresses”.

Could a new market entrant as a VAn or Service Provider operate without routes to GXS bound subscribers, all  Fortune 2000 hubs, retailers,manufacturers, etc. ? Would any capital source risk such an investment….without knowing beforehand that any new venture would be “Routing Viable” – no way.

Only massive capital of a PE fund, and the coordinated acquisition of a sufficient number of VAN properties, carefully executed to exploit the weaknesses of the “unfinished” VAN routing ‘non-architecture, could accomplish such a feat. The analysis could not be clearer – Routing Arbitrage and exploitation of the layer 7 EDI addresses was the original organizing principle behind Francisco Partners Funding of GXS, Inc. These are tactics the FCC and DOJ are supposed to be on-guard against…..but our regulators have failed us in a double agency failure –

Our competition watchdog laid down and waved through a HSR for many such acquisitions, but the coup de grace was Inovis. Why was so special about Inovis?  An incisive quote from Todd Gould illuminates the obscure:

“Inovis was the last competent VAN operator to stand briefly against GXS (speaking of the tiny, inner cadre of technical management holding a slim slice of Inovis equity), who first of all could operate and offer a transit route to GXS, at a price envelope we could potentially operate within – although that differential was a disadvantage compared to other EDI networks (who paid zero $ under standard non-settlement terms)”,

“Inovis was technically capable of operating the beast, which was  only required by  Loren Data Corp – the last VAN to be publicly denied a GXS interconnect to TGMS” – (Author’s historical note: Loren Data Corp’s ECGrid VAN had established  interconnection with IBM IE, and Inovis, pre GXS buyout – such that  astute readers truly understand  GXS’ latest  “daisy chaining” defamatory claptrap, is completely bankrupt on its face).

The FCC chose not to look even briefly at the distortion of the EDI messaging sector, although, there were ample arguments to apply the reasoning arising from the “Computer Inquiry Remands I, II, III”,-  the EDI market is  a “services market in which bailment attached, meeting all requirements for common carriage regulation”. Hit the buzzer on the FCC for the largest failure of intentional, regulatory blindness since….you name it.

The EDI VAN and Service Provider Sector now inherits the fruits of  collective inaction –  the grand prize for undistinguished market non-activism in the face of a toxic consolidation Presently, the sector finds itself bereft  of an effective means  to oppose GXS, a giant now franchised by a TransAtlantic, intragovernmental “star Chamber’ of competition regulators. These regulators played into the hands of a PE Fund that, to all appearances, wrote their script …and handed each agency their very own gilt embossed set of rubber agency stamps, in felt-lined cases with certificate of authenticity….

Each boxed set of rubber stamps given to the UK OFT and USDOJ has a hand-written note enclosed, that says “the check is under the felt liner, guy$”.

While we are at it, the e-commerce service provider sector leadership? What have they been doing for the last two years? Well, that will be my next post, but suffice to say that it’s has been a very, very Black several years for EDI businesses wishing to access that fragile, under provisioned and under architected routing mesh.  More to come.

Act Now in Defense of the EDI Communications Market

Take Action Now to Preserve Fair Competition in the B2B IT Communications Sector.

Influential GXS Customers:

1) Demand in unambiguous terms, that your suppliers retain their unencumbered right to select the EDI VAN, B2B SAAS provider, or supply chain service provider of their choice. Insist that your EDI network messaging provider respect your supplier’s choice of EDI network. Period. Tell GXS that you stand behind your supplier’s selection of EDI network  provider. Leveraging any supplier’s access to a GXS resident Hub via interconnect pathways, called ‘route arbitrage abuse’, is sufficient cause for terminating a contract. Any entity that acts to impede the contractual relationships between buyers and their supply chain members needs to be put on high notice that these actions are unacceptable.

A prestigious corporation using GXS-TGMS for supplier communications should not tolerate these factitious, manipulating actions by GXS. IT Directors and CIOs would never accept any such  action by a telecoms provider, ISP, data center, or 3PL;  and it is similarly unacceptable for an EDI Messaging provider to dictate terms to your supplier community – especially if the terms are sure to increase costs to your suppliers.  Retailers,  Manufacturers, and Consumer Brands – if you are a wise GXS’ TGMS VAN customer, please take action and contact me, or the DOJ,  FTC, or FCC, they must hear directly from as many GXS clients as possible. Let us work together to eliminate all such market limiting actions that are perpetrated against your supplier community.

2) The Most influential Actors in the EDI communications sector are the Retail, Manufacturing, and Logistics Hubs; your trading partners ability to comply with  complex EDI requirements are impacted by having as diverse a range of EDI Services and providers, solutions , software, as possible. The EDI market is impacted by the adherence to transparent and ‘value free’ message routing across all major VANs and service providers. As I am concentrating on VANs first, please understand that eventually, all systems, even AS2, will have access to transparent message routing. However, this will never happen if GXS has their way…..for the way of GXS is to herd, yes herd, all  end-users onto TGMS, and to eliminate VAN interconnects totally, the Sherman act be damned.  I want to personally thank the DOJ for conducting such a smart and savvy HSR review of the GXS Inovis merger – NOT! The DOJ essentially franchised the monopolization of the EDI VAN sector by giving the green light to an avowed toxic monopolist who had shown in their past actions to abuse the power of EDI network traffic exchange agreements…shame on you DOJ. And, shame on the FCC for although being fully briefed on the impact of GXSs actions, has not taken one step or action to protect just the interconnections of this vital communications sector. Feh. 

Hey DOJ, Joe Wayland, Antitrust Crusader and new Division chief  – WTF! WTF! WTF!

Hey! FCC. Your agency is the Nation’s Communication’s watchdog! WTF!WTF! !!!

Professionals in the B2B IT market simply understand that ensuring the availability of cost-effective and diverse EDI services for all suppliers, large and small alike, starts with solid, standardized, ubiquitous communications services – the more diverse and innovative the better. The unprecedented abuse of established and settled interVAN routing policies, leveraging the consolidation of the VANs GXS acquired  (IBM IE, Inovis, and GEIS), is tantamount to admitting that the behemoth is simply unable to synthesize a credible way of competing with a brilliant Mr. Gould, whose ability to innovate as fast as he can type into Visual Studio – is uncanny.  GXS could only wish…..

The B2B communications sector has very few such prolific innovators – Todd created the one and only VAN built from the ground up for big traffic movers, like SPS Commerce, other Supplier enabling service providers, and the new breed of Virtual VANs.

Finding common cause between the Hubs, their suppliers, and Loren Data Corp is my singular quest ; GXS client’s should understand that they can make a difference, the big hubs can get involved and stay with GXS for all I care , as long as you all get involved. It will be worth it, and we will have a better market with stable prices for B2B Comms services, and better accessibility for your suppliers, at prices they can afford. 

The converse also applies: If GXS kills off Loren Data Corp, and then moves on to suck the blood from all other VAN interconnects….oh you don’t think they are stopping with Loren Data, do you? Please, open your eyes.

And I am not even saying that GXS should not be  in the market – after all the company has consumed 500 million in equity and has access to over 400M in credit facilities. GXS as a company of human capital alone has a scale that is simply unapproachable by most other companies.  Loren Data could take on the comms of a few GXS customers that only require messaging services, but for massive armies of engineers and B2B system techs? GXS, IBM Sterling, and one other…..maybe.

In regards to the issues of ‘what is right, what is reasonable, and what will work for the large hubs and their suppliers….. at least one does care:

https://beaconedi.com/edi-blog/shame-on-gxs—gxs-to-terminate-loren-data-interconnects

http://www.LD.com from the President’s Blog:

http://www.ld.com/gxs-makes-its-next-move-2/

and the deluge of comments continue on Yahoo Groups EDI-L, the oldest listerve on the EDI universe. Here is also a growing collection of comments across many blogs and groups:

http://www.ld.com/more-about-gxs/

Continue reading

The VAN Wars

The VAN Wars

Alan D. Wilensky, The Analyst Prince
bizQuirk Technology Strategists, LLC

A disturbing set of behaviors sparked by the VAN mergers has percolated throughout the EDI industry. Many of these behaviors existed before, in a minor, putative form, and most savvy network operators dealt with them in stride. But, the climate has turned somewhat dark in the industry of late. It could only be more perfect if this were the ides of March.
Are these tribulations due solely to the recent mergers? The answer is complex, but the root of the problem lies in the EDI Industry’s architecture, or rather, the lack of a good routing architecture.

What are these supposed malignant behaviors? Well, a previously settled culture of administrative and network operations is starting to fray. Generally, services done at a client’s request in order to conduct business or change providers is considered an inherent right. However, recent events have transpired to impede the rights of end-users, and the B2B application service providers that they have selected according to their rights and their unique needs.

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