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SNET to use Net-based EDI service

The phone carrier will use the electronic data interchange service to allow its suppliers to take orders and submit invoices over the Net.

    Southern New England Telecommunications (SNG) will use the Internet-based EDI service of DynamicWeb to allow its suppliers to take orders and submit invoices over the Net.

    DynamicWeb's service will supplement SNET's EDI (electronic data interchange) service on a secure private network operated by Sterling Commerce.

    EDI involves automated computer-to-computer transactions using forms and requiring no human intervention. Internet EDI is growing in popularity because it doesn't require the expensive set-up costs and per-message fees usually associated with EDI over value-added networks, the EDI-specific secure networks.

    "SNET wanted to open the Web to extend its enterprise EDI infrastructure on the procurement side," said Steve Vanechanos, DynamicWeb chief executive. SNET will use DynamicWeb's EDIxchange Buy Service to automate its supply chain with suppliers that lack EDI capabilities, extending "paperless procurement" to small and mid-size suppliers.

    DynamicWeb will host a secure Web site for SNET and provide mapping, translating, and routing of business documents between SNET and suppliers, who need only a computer, Web browser, and Internet access to participate. The service will let suppliers receive and acknowledge SNET purchase orders, then send invoices electronically using a Web browser.

    Dynamic also will maintain a catalog for SNET, allowing suppliers to update data for SNET to view and upload to its legacy EDI system.

    Although EDI has been around for years, it has often been driven by big manufacturers that insist suppliers use EDI. Other EDI vendors have been adding services so that big companies can connect via the Internet to their smaller vendors, including Sterling Commerce, GE Information Services, Harbinger, Electronic Commerce Systems, EDI Source, Logicom Technologies, and others, often focused on specific industries.

    In the last year, however, new online procurement systems have emerged, many of which support existing EDI set-ups but don't require use of EDI formats. Vendors include Ariba Technologies, Commerce One, Cross Route Software, Open Market, and Netscape, for its Actra e-commerce software.