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EDI ACADEMY – Value Added Networks (VANs)


In the second issue of EDI Academy, we explained that one of the key elements when setting up an EDI relationship is the communications system. There are currently several options available for transferring information, but the most widely used of all are designated value-added networks, also known as VANs by their initials.

What are VANs?

VANs are secure data exchange networks between companies. Unlike other alternatives, their use is not linked with Internet, as they came about at the same time as EDI emerged, when this technology was not yet widespread in society.  Nevertheless, they continue to be the option most widely used by companies. This is because many operators, like EDICOM, provide value added services such as back-office integration, the possibility of subcontracting communications management (EDI Outsourcing), safekeeping, etc.

The way value-added networks operate is very simple. Trading partners can send and receive documents from their platform just as they would an email. However, the entire process is carried out under stringent security conditions to ensure the integrity and inviolability of the data. The network constantly checks the partner identity and validity of the message.

Another significant advantage is that the partners involved receive notifications whenever they have a new document, when the one they have sent is delivered and when it reaches the recipient. Bear in mind that with this communications system traceability is assured, with tracking throughout the process.


Today, EDICOMNet is one of the most powerful VANs in the world. Each year, the network handles around 300 million transactions, from more than 12,000 trading partners worldwide. This is because it is a multi-protocol and multi-standard VAN, which lets you exchange any document regardless of the format it is in or the partner features. In addition, there are other added benefits:

  • Global interoperability. EDICOM has interconnection agreements with the principal VANs worldwide (IBM, GXS, LIAISON, etc.) to ensure interconnection of all users with any trading partner.
  • Cutting economic costs. EDICOMNet has a flat-rate model for users connected to the
  • Thanks to automation, grouping of processes and data compression, transmission of documents takes place immediately.
  • Prioritizing messages. VAN users have the option of setting up delivery or sending preferences depending on the type of transaction.
  • High Availability. The service is available 24 hours a day. In addition, EDICOM is committed to complying with 99.9% availability of its services in a signed SLA.

Want to know more about EDI? Check out all the posts in our  EDI Academy series. In the next instalment, we take an in-depth look at the importance of interoperability.

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