This E-mail message was copied to CTI by Phil Stanley (http://www.asppages.net) who was responding to an EDI question from Daniel Strocker at the Freiburg University in Germany. Bold highlights added by CTI.
Daniel, In answer to your question...
I have evaluated about a half a dozen Internet EDI offerings and have found that their are many pros and cons to each. Many are no more than a forms based solution while others are database driven solutions.
The database solutions are the best Internet EDI solution since you can develop other applications around the database. That is, if your vendor items are already in the database to support EDI, you can also use the database data to develop a Web based purchasing system for your internal users.
The challenge today for Internet EDI is securely moving sensitive data over the public network. This problem has a solution thanks to VPN technology. By placing a server with PPTP on the Internet, you can establish a secure mailboxing system where companies can trade data in the same fashion as they do with VANs. Once this catches on, the VANs will have to market their services based on added services and not mailboxing and secure networking.
Using products with PPTP and a mailboxing system like the FastSync® Client/Server TCP/IP based product from CTI Communications, an internet based mailboxing system can easily and inexpensively be set up by companies.
I see a highly competitive market for secure FTP solutions coming in the future and I also see numerous Internet based VPN providers appearing on the Internet over the next few years with the VANs multi-billion dollar a year pie being shared by many of these new Internet based mailboxing systems. Just my thoughts! Phil Stanley