4 Reasons Your Organization Should Migrate Off the VAN
It’s easy to take for granted the great tools that simplify and streamline B2B communications today, but there was a time, during the early days of the internet, when companies struggled to digitally communicate with their trading partners. B2B communication is still a challenge in some regards today, but back then, there were limited options given the cost of deploying managed file transfer (MFT) technology. More often than not, however, organizations turned to value-added networks (VANs) to help them connect and exchange information.
EDI VAN providers were designed to enable the delivery of EDI documents, such as purchase orders and invoices, and non-EDI documents between businesses. VANs are essentially a private network where carriers provide special data transmission services. Companies slow to digitally transform often lacked the technology to do this themselves, so they turned to third-party providers to connect and exchange data for a fee.
In the 1980s, VANs were appealing because they offered security and reliability. For companies that handle customers’ bank information and other financial records, VANs made a lot of sense. VANs have even evolved throughout the years to provide transformation, storage, and encryption services while maintaining the level of dependability that companies have come to expect.
Despite the compelling reasons to use a VAN, there is another side to the coin. And that side features various reasons not to use a VAN. Here are four reasons why your VAN may be limiting your business’s ability to grow and why it might be time to migrate off the VAN:
- Cost: To capitalize on a VAN’s benefits, you must pay monthly enrollment and installment fees in addition to per kilo-characters throughput pricing. If you’re a small business that plans on growing anytime soon, those prices can get pretty high pretty fast. And while security was a big draw for the earliest VANs, the fact remains that you’re only as secure as your VAN. Third-party VANs carry with it additional risk – as another access point – that you wouldn’t have if you were handling your own data transfers.
- Onboarding: Bringing on new partners and setting them up through a VAN can be a complex and time-consuming process. Rapid scaling is something companies need to thrive in today’s fast-moving business environment, and unfortunately with VANs, adding connections and configuring new trading partners can hinder your time to value.
- Reliability: VAN outages are a reality, and when your business guarantees uptime and the VAN fails, it can lead to SLA fines, chargebacks, and loss of revenue. Meanwhile, your business is held hostage waiting for the VAN provider to get back online.
- Control: Using a VAN limits the amount of control you would have if you employed more modern technology to manage your data. Companies want to be able to adjust and to implement the right solutions. VANs, however, dictate the technology choices for you.
That’s not to say that VANs are going entirely the way of the dodo, but they certainly seem more like relics than innovation compared with some other technology options available today.
For those companies still on a VAN, rather than continuing to pay these rising costs, risk outages, and give up control, consider more dynamic MFT and B2B integration platforms that provide a central way of doing business. Modern organizations that migrate off the VAN can more easily connect and integrate complex digital topographies. Such technology helps close visibility gaps, ensure 100 percent uptime, and regain control over your business-critical data.
Perhaps you consider your VAN to be something of a safety net. That’s fair, if that’s how you’ve always done business, right? But your competition surely isn’t sitting back and letting a VAN dictate its growth.
Modern integration solutions streamline not only your EDI communications and expedite partner onboarding but enable end-to-end connectivity for your entire business community, reducing your dependence on a third-party network and enabling you to migrate off the VAN on your own terms.