Free, Low-cost AS2 Adapters Give Businesses New Options

Gartner: Software that enables EDI connectivity may result in a major shift in the way enterprises approach B2B connectivity

Durham, NC November 28, 2005 /n software inc., a provider of cross-platform software components for communication, security and e-business development, is now offering a "public preview" version of its AS2 adapter, which enables electronic data interchange (EDI) connectivity with a single B2B trading partner.

This version of the adapter, the EDI AS2 Connector, which is free of cost, offers only limited support and is intended for testing environments. However, the company will offer a fully supported product with pricing for multiple partners by year's end. The final product will still be free for use with a single trading partner, with full support available for paid multiple partner licenses.

Gent Hito, president and CEO, /n software, said his company saw that most products currently on the market bundle such services as integration and communication that, although related, don't necessarily make sense together from a technical standpoint. And, as a result, companies end up having to pay for more services than they really need.

With the new AS2 Connector, small businesses, especially those forced into Internet EDI by large partners, or even trading hubs that want to have a low-cost way to communicate with their partners, have a way to test and explore the software with no commitment, Hito said.

A recent report from the Garter Group commented on the release of the AS2 Connector, noting that it and similar no-cost or low-cost offers from vendors may result in a major shift in the way enterprises approach B2B connectivity.

The availability of free or low-cost AS2 connectivity will introduce a new competitive element to the market, wrote Frank Kenney, principal research analyst, Gartner Research. Vendors that charge exorbitant prices for AS2 adapters will have to deal with competition from less-expensive options.

Kenny went on to say that vendors of B2B gateway solutions that have chosen not to include core AS2 connectivity should re-examine that decision. Enterprises increasingly rely on AS2, and its growing use has led to the resurgence of EDI and the emergence of a realistic alternative to the use of third-party providers such as value-added networks.

AS2 is also key to ongoing global data synchronization efforts in the retail industry, said Kenny. Gartner believes that the most successful B2B gateways are based on service-oriented architectures, and provide the ability to compose processes that facilitate a range of connectivity mechanisms, including AS2 and ebXML Message Service.