In business, as well as everywhere else in life, information equals power, security and prosperity. The data that your organization accumulates, manages and shares with other companies is the lifeblood of its workflow and the key to continued growth. In an age of total and complete digitization of business operations, it’s crucial that the method with which your employees share and exchange data is secure, efficient and expedient. Vendors routinely rely on each other to quickly share information to exchange goods and services.
The electronic data interchange (EDI) software you choose is one of the most important decisions you can make for the growth of your IT operations. Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents between companies. The process has replaced the use of faxes and mailing of paper documents.
Why Do I Need an EDI System?
EDI systems yield a variety of logistical and operational benefits. For one thing, they serve as a gateway to relationships with larger companies who have more advanced integrated IT infrastructure. They allow to seamless communicate with clients of all sizes and readily exchange information from day one of the business relationship. EDI systems also allow smaller companies to maximize their resources and make the best use of their personnel by freeing them up to focus on their core responsibilities without having to worry about administrative tasks associated with correspondence.
They also cut down on administrative errors in data transfer and correspondence and gives you firm confirmation that your documents were successfully sent and received. Perhaps some of the most immediate benefits of EDI systems is that they cut down on the significant delay associated with antiquated business correspondence practices and they represent a one-time investment that cuts down on long-term costs.
What Type of EDI Software is Best for Your Company?
There are a great many variables to consider when choosing an EDI system for your company.
As is the case with any other business investment, you should consider the size of your organization, its financial liquidity and the amount of vendors with whom you do business on a daily basis to determine your EDI needs. If you’re looking to keep your operations small, you might want to consider what is known as point-to-point or direct EDI which establishes a singular connection between two businesses.
If you’re looking to expand in the near future and connect with more and more vendors, and don’t have time to navigate the evolving protocol requirements and operational complexities of your EDI, consider choosing an EDI network services provider, and let them do all the work. EDI network services providers were the gold standard of EDI’s prior to the internet and offer community and business partner enablement, back-office integration, management information, fully managed services (EDI outsourcing) and more.
Other types of EDI solutions include:
- EDI via AS2 – Internet communications protocol that enables data to be transmitted securely over the Internet.
- EDI via FTP/VPN, SFTP, FTPS – Communication protocols for the exchange of EDI documents via the Internet. Any of these can be used to connect to business partners directly (Direct EDI) or via an EDI Network Services Provider.
- Web EDI – Conducts EDI using standard designated internet service provider. Ideal for small and medium-sized businesses without the need for a complex and designated EDI solutions platform.
Some organizations have begun using mobile EDI; however, this concept has yet to gain traction in the mainstream business community due to concerns over errors, security and navigability.
Why Should I Outsource My EDI Solutions?
Another increasingly common option for choosing, developing and implementing the best EDI solution is to simply leave it to someone else. The reality is that not every organization has time, personnel or capabilities to cultivate an effective managed EDI solution in-house. The outsourcing process offers the benefit of an experienced and qualified professional to help you find an option that suits your needs, budget and expansion goals. You also want to make sure that you have an EDI solution that can seamlessly integrate with your partner vendors’ business processing technology.
MAP is a trusted and reputable technology services consultant for companies just like yours looking for the right EDI solutions. We offer expert assistance with every phase of the managed EDI solution process, from development to implementation to monitoring and adjustment. MAP is proud to partner with menten, an industry leader in EDI software, and we will be delighted to discuss what we can do for your organization. Let MAP help you make the right EDI moves to ensure the secure, accurate and seamless exchange of information between you and the partners you depend on to grow your business. Call us today at 215-315-4175.