ECGrid & ECGridOS EDI Communications Services


An Executive Briefing for CTO's and Product Mangers of B2B Systems, Software, and Platforms By Alan D. Wilensky, ECGridOS Evangelist (412) 353-9269 Connection Architectures and Contract Models for B2B Software OEMs in multi-model EDI Product sectors. Executive Summary This briefing will cover the essential issues facing Capital Line Software businesses contemplating a key transition from consumer of EDI communications services, to owner / operator of their own EDI network via Loren Data Corp's ECGrid Network, and ECGridOS Web Services Network Management API. Definitions: ECGrid is a wholesale EDI Interconnect and message routing cluster. ECGrid hosts 18,000 native trading partner ID's, and has clear routes to dozens of electronic commerce service providers and Value Added Networks. ECGrid, in continuous operation since 2001, is owned and operated by Loren Data Corp, a company founded in 1987. Many prestigious B2B service providers use ECGrid as their EDI carrier infrastructure of choice. More information about ECGrid can be found at ECGridOS is the Web Services (WSDL / SOAP) interface to ECGrid. Software developers can create custom virtual EDI networks for integration in capital line systems (ERP, 3PL, VMI), and the new vanguard of B2B cloud commerce ventures can embed EDI communications in their platform. Using ECGrid ECGrid is accessed like other VANs, via FTP, AS2, and VPN. Administration is via a simple web interface. ECGrid is the only VAN with a universal directory service. Companies that have traditionally been large users of in-house AS2 and FTP have found ECGrid an economical alternative. ECGrid supports any combinations of inbound connections, and large partner migrations are are a regular occurrence at ECGrid. All ECGrid accounts can be controlled via the API - the only difference is the connection protocol and method, and such methods may be freely mixed, with some sites and accounts dedicated to FTP, yet equally accessible via the API for reporting and account control, while other accounts may rely entirely on the API for control and communications. ECGrid, used in its typical and robust standard connection model as a routing system, or as a private / hybrid communications cluster, is a viable alternative to any VAN, regardless of market size or ostensible reputation. Using ECGridOS

Programmers use ECGridOS to build network operations functions into software and hosted platforms. Such Netops functions grant a developer operational control of a fully functional EDI Communications network with the power to manage accounts, credentials, access, reporting, interconnections, all from within your application's code. Furthermore, ECGridOS allows you to convey a Grant of Network Authority to subordinate or Client networks. OEM Software vendors may now, due to the flexibility of ECGridOS, accomplish the following: 1) Run and Administer their own branded EDI Comms service with authority to control the subordinate mailboxes and QIDs. 2) Grant autonomous Network Ops authority to their qualified customers, who may in turn fully administer their trading partners, inter-network relations, and special features. As ECGridOS is based on standard Web Services, communications and parcel transmission can all occur over a unified port 80 interface. This greatly reduces network support issues. Account Models and Control Authority The following graphic shows the ops hierarchy for an ECGrid Network accessed or created with ECGridOS:

Your Product is The Primary Use Case - EDI Built in. Companies that use retail EDI services via Value Added Networks configure at least one communications

channel per application server installation. All traffic flows via FTP, AS2, etc. On-Demand businesses (SAAS, Cloud B2B) have large populations of segregated user communities that require even more network controls - and configuration. Enhancing your platform's EDI network services repertoire, provides more freedom and features for your users. Access to VANs is undifferentiated; even if multiple user ID's and credentials are configured, there is no concept of messages belonging to any department, process, or user. All messages are identified via ISA Address Segments, your sever or application code is used to 'de-funk' the message routing and ownership. Furthermore, it is impossible to innovate any services, differentiate your product's EDI features, or enhance exception handling in your native code. ECGridOS allows OEMs and On-Demand B2B operators to assert full authority over user access, the message stream, and inter network operations. Software developers have come to expect control over all other IP network functions and messaging protocols, except EDI. The leading VANs have trained the B2B community to expect less, and they have mostly succeeded in lowering expectations, until now. Such was the rationale for creating ECGridOS. Now, all EDI communications functions are native to your code, and with your Network ID in hand, Your Company is the VAN. Once the EDI functions are integrated, there are no more calls to the VAN for account configuration - admins and authorized users may enter account and administrative data to set up trading partners and communications. Applications communicate as if using native IP message layers at the OS level with a rich palette of services that allow for the continual evolution of your product over time. Native EDI Communications Integration does not mean lack of administrative control or poor operational visibility All of the functions normally reserved for a VANs legacy Net Ops is available to the software vendor or SAAS operator via centralized administrative interfaces that can be coded by your developers (using Loren Data supplied sample code libraries), or as licensed, ready to use Data Center quality administrative control panels available from our partners (NetEDI). Operations Model Here are some of the ways our ECGridOS developers are using the API to make a difference in operations: None of the following models are exclusive, they may be freely combined, changed on the fly in software, or new models can be innovated by smart people. 1) EDI Code built in to the Application - Outsourced Account Support The end users administer trading partner set up via the application's UI. The best ECGridOS user facing admin UI's hide the gory details and users find it easy to add trading partners, see message status, etc. Netops support for account level issue resolution may be provided by Loren Data or its Partners. The vendor need not staff a supervisory console, as failures can trigger automated email to designated support staff. 2) Your Company's VAN Ops In addition to native code integration, Your Company can create or license a full Net Ops suite and service its application users for account level services. Beyond support, your developers can add billing, reports, etc.

3) Your Company as a Grantor of Network ID's For clients that control their trading partner populations, or who wish to have direct control over their pricing and EDI communications. Your Company can set the account billing for these subordinate networks, integrate the communications functions, and divide the net Ops authority between the application's user facing functions, Your Internal VAN Ops, and varying levels of User / licensee Account authority. These Ops models can change over time, as Your Company evolves its mission. Developer Accounts are Free The richness of the API and what innovative architects can do has constantly surprised us. Experienced EDI and B2B Systems Professionals simply must walk through the API docs, try a few things and dream. Pricing Loren Data Corp is a wholesale network that only services the developer, ecommerce service providers, and other volume account controllers and operators. Each system is different, and we service very large on-demand B2B systems. Accounts can be flat rate, traffic-based, mailbox based, or User ID (QID) based. We work with companies that intend to resell the network services we provide, either as network owners, grantor's, or operators. If your motivation is to not resell, but to include EDI Communications as a basic account service (an up sell), we are all for it, and will make it work for you. Please call and ask for our Spreadsheet based account estimator, which is good for companies transitioning from legacy VANs, and who have historical price references. If your EDI Venture is an evolving Biz 2.0, and there is no current analogue to your model, Loren Data Corp will get you started with a usage tier that fits your estimated ramp, and will waive minimum network fees for up to 6 months. We generally see a successful ECGridOS operator as meeting minimums of $500-1000 / mo. 50-100 mailboxes or 200+ QIDs, at the very starting end of the scale. If you would care to see some figures of what larger operators have achieved in volume accounts, and how this volume has affected their Wholesale EDI Operations costs on ECGrid, we can discuss this with you. Contracts Loren Data Corp does not lock ECGridOS developers or product integrators into terms. Our Service Agreements all contain sixty day out clauses for both parties. Certain Clients have asked for binders of up to two years, and we have complied. Pricing is based on your estimates and needs. This is why we do not widely circulate pricing. Give us your estimates and we will supply you with a network operations price schedule that grows with your business. We will review your estimates and actual network usage at six and twelve months, and will provide a reconciled ops pricing plan at your anniversary , along with any Champagne.

The most important fact about Ops pricing is that we average the best case price in your favor. If you started with KC and it seems that per QID was better at six month review, we will double check that with you, in person or over the phone / on-line, and set the forward schedule that benefits you, the ECGrid Network Operator. Who do you think you are dealing with? When you partner with Loren Data Corp, you are working with the owner, Todd Gould, and his handpicked staff and operators that have significant tenure in the EDI Communications business. Some Loren Data clients are ECGrid users since 1999, while some have changed EDI support personnel not even realizing that their EDI was flowing seamlessly over ECGrid, with no downtime, and didn't know who Loren Data was until we told them, "we are YOUR EDI Network". That's reliability.

* Six Month suggested review in Y1 of Service One Year Net Ops Review Usage models will be averaged for best price.