Applicability Statement 2 or AS2 is a communication protocol that supports EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) or any other data transmittals over the internet. AS2 specifies the means to connect, deliver, validate and reply to data in a secure and reliable way.
The AS2 standard benefits the user by significantly reducing traditional communications costs associated with the exchange of data because it decreases the turn-around time for business transactions. It can reduce it to nearly instantaneous with direct HTTP transfers. Depending upon load and transaction volume, most AS2 applications can co-exist with other web applications. The usual cost of implementing this is similar to the cost of a web server. Once it is in place, the only thing left that an enterprise will have to take care of is server maintenance and support personnel. So a cost efficient way of implementing AS2 is through a hosted setup or SaaS (software as a service) as this eliminates the intended maintenance costs.
Once your have your AS2 infastructure, you are guaranteed of its benefits such as:
- An encryption method that provides confidentiality so only sender and receiver can view the data
- Signed Message Disposition Notifications (MDNs) provide message to the sender that the message was obtained by the receiver without error
- Confirmation, through digital signatures, that the sender is who they claim to be and assurance of integrity of the message by detecting, via digital signatures, if the document was altered during transmission.
- Exchange data more quickly --- achieve real-time data exchange which speeds up order processing / fulfillment and payment while providing a foundation for greater collaborative partnering and satisfaction.
- Reduce errors and costly manual processes --- enable easy communication with your less sophisticated suppliers / customers and in the process become more automated. The more automated you become, human-related errors decrease as well as labor costs associated with manual operations.
Return of investment is tied to transaction volume or savings per transaction, so higher volumes will show higher payback more quickly. In many cases for heavy data users, ROI may occur within a month of implementation. It can have a significant impact for larger enterprises with heavy business transactions and/or multiple trading partners while for smaller companies, implementing AS2 may not be a matter of savings but rather, a way to interact with a larger supply chain.
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