When dealing with data, and all related terminology, you may feel like you’re trying to speak a foreign language. In the interest of keeping things clear and simple, we will introduce commonly used terms that will help you navigate the data shorthand and learn the lingo. This week, we bring you: EDI gateways and interconnects.
Electronic data interchange (EDI), or the digital exchange of standardized data and business documents, is conducted via value-added networks (VANs). A VAN is a service provider that enables EDI by ensuring the safe and secure delivery of one company’s information – invoices, purchase orders, SPAs, etc. - to the correct recipient company.
VANs primarily transport EDI documents in one of two ways: via gateways or via interconnects.
- Gateway: A gateway - the easiest form of data transportation - is an established digital pathway between the VANs of two trading partners. Gateways are built through a partnership between two VAN service providers, and allow for seamless delivery of data from one point to another. Gateways are best suited for frequent and/or recurring exchanges.
- Interconnect: An EDI interconnect is used to deliver data when there is no established connection between the VANs used by the sender and recipient companies. Interconnects are typically used if trading partners conduct infrequent exchanges and, as such, have no need for an established digital pathway. For this reason, however, interconnects are more costly to both the VAN and the sender than gateways.
Companies that exchange business documents with trading partners via EDI can expand their business more cost effectively by creating partnerships with established EDI gateways to enable easy and seamless trade. IDEA’s Industry Data Exchange (IDX) is connected via gateway to all 80 VANs worldwide through IDEA’s partnership with IBM, Liaison, and INOVIS. Because the IDX has a gateway connection to these VANs, IDX customers also have access to established gateway connections to any of their trading partners around the world.