Tech Time: VAN Migration, Retaining the existing Mailbox

VAN Migration: Retaining the existing EDI Mailbox Name

In the world of EDI, an organisation typically has one or more unique identities. This identity is the Global Location Number (GLN), which forms part of the GS1 systems of standards. Organisations acquire the GLN from GS1.

EDI mailbox names are often based on this GLN number. Both senders’ and receivers’ EDI mailbox names have to be included in the EDI messages they exchange with each other. In deciding where to route message, a VAN (Value Added Network) may inspect the message and identify the sending/receiving mailbox names and use this information to establish the destination for the message to be routed to (either to a mailbox on it’s own VAN network or to a mailbox on another VAN via a VAN-interconnect).

When an organisation decides to move to a new VAN, a number of considerations need to be taken into account, depending on the naming of the new mailbox.

Organisations have the following options:

  • Set up the mailbox with a new name on the new VAN
  • Set up the mailbox with the same name as with the previous VAN

Switching EDI VAN provider can be a challenging undertaking. There may be trading partner resistance and/or they may request re-testing of EDI messages etc. Setting up a mailbox under a new name could be even more challenging as that involves changes that the trading partners have to make.

Both of these options have their pros/cons, they both require more or less stakeholder involvement. Stakeholders may include: the customer, its trading partners, the trading partners’ VANs, the customer’s VAN.

This briefly summarises the typical approach and implementation when choosing the second option:

  1. Set up mailbox on the new VAN (same mailbox name as already in use under the older setup)
  1. Identify trading partners’ VAN providers
  1. For those trading partners whose VAN provider is the same as the switching organisation’s old VAN provider, that provider can be instructed to change the routing to the organisation’s new VAN mailbox (which retains the previous name) – With this approach, there is generally no need to re-validate the connection. In fact, there is no need to even notify the trading partners of the change since nothing will change for them. Transactions will flow as normal but will be using the new EDI mailbox.
  1. Where the trading partner is on a different VAN then that VAN needs to be instructed to re-route EDI messages to the new VAN provider
  1. With the above approach, the switch can be totally transparent to the trading partners. The single main restriction is that for both points 3 and 4, the switch has to occur at the same time
  1. This kind of change can leave some transactions orphaned in the old mailbox when it is terminated. Depending on transaction volumes between trading partners, this may or may not be a problem and should be managed accordingly.

Contact us to find out how you can successfully switch EDI VAN provider.