The value-added network (Van) services providers of the past are reinventing themselves to enable an expanded set of "inter-enterprise integration services".
The new products should be considered by organisations involved in supply chain management and business-to-business customer relationship management, according to analyst Meta Group.
Van services providers that offer EDI (electronic data interchange) transport and translation services are currently engaged in the most radical re-engineering of their businesses since the onset of internet EDI during the late 1990s, said Meta.
Traditional document interchange and guaranteed message delivery services are being enhanced with a new series of integration and application services designed to enable inter-enterprise business process execution, collaboration and management for supply chain management and CRM strategies.
Meta analyst Carl Lehmann, said, "The term ‘Van’ no longer adequately describes their capabilities and business model. They are emerging as a new breed of inter-enterprise integrators (IEIs)."
Services will now include data cleansing and syndication, product information management, cross-platform and inter-enterprise transaction management, document reconciliation and analytics, trading partner business intelligence, and an array of applications to assist businesses with collaborative processes, ranging from dispute and financial process management to demand planning and vendor-managed inventory.
To demonstrate the activity in this new market, said Meta, in recent weeks leading IEI players such as Sterling Commerce announced its multi-enterprise collaboration strategy and a partnership with Entrust.
In addition, GXS has introduced its Trading Grid, acquired the EDI services business from IBM, and announced a partnership with WebMethods. Inovis has announced the acquisition of QRS, and Perfect Commerce has acquired Pantellos.