Author Archives: Jill Barlow

Managing Compliance Risks in B2B Integration Through Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLA compliance risk and why you should care

Service level agreements (SLAs) are a staple of customer and service provider transactions. You may view them as a necessity, but not necessarily as a permanent tool in your utility belt. Others may understand the basic premise of SLAs, but have no idea how to manage the compliance risks along with them. This post is the first in a series on this very topic, and will walk you through the factors to consider on how to better manage such risk.

SLAs establish objective criteria for assessing the performance of business-to-business (B2B) processes and operations, such as order receipt, warehouse transfers, and claims processing. On the buy side of a business, service levels measure the performance of vendors who provide goods and services. Conversely, on the sell side, they measure how well a business complies with SLAs established by its customers.

Several aspects of performance are measured with SLAs, including:

  • The accuracy and completeness of data exchanged between businesses
  • The timeliness, responsiveness, and visibility of processes that manage data exchange
  • How long it takes to provision new trading partners, transactions, and changes
  • How available and dependable B2B infrastructure services are

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A Collaborative Partner is Key

This blog post is the sixth and final part of a series highlighting the best practices for planning and evaluation EDI-as-a-Service.

When utilizing EDI-as-a-Service, offerings vary widely in capability, flexibility and quantity – meaning it’s important to find a partner who has a track record of meeting needs like yours.

EDI is a time-tested service and runs largely in the background. Its invisibility, however, can often obscure its value and importance to business. In fact, it can encourage the false impression that EDI solutions, including EDI-as-a-Service, are commoditized and interchangeable.

If you aren’t meticulous in choosing the EDI-as-a-Service best for your business, the penalty can be severe. If a provider responds poorly or too slowly to application, network, system outages or other out-of-band exceptions, consequences can include transaction loss, case flow disruption and potential loss of future business. Continue reading

Last-Mile Integration and Switching Costs

This blog post is the fifth part of a series highlighting the best practices for EDI-as-a-Service in planning and evaluation.

EDI-as-a-Service providers offer unique advantages to your business that may not have been previously attainable. Before making the final decision on engaging in an EDI-as-a-service solution, it may be critical to quantify the value of last-mile integration to your business. You’ll also want to develop strategies to reduce or eliminate switching costs.

The Business Value of Last-Mile Integration

Without end-to-end automation, many companies with close-to-cost business models would be unprofitable. Because of this, it’s important to realize that with EDI-as-a-Service, end-to-end automation requires last-mile integration between the EDI service and operational applications and data. Continue reading

Partner Setups and an Internal Contact with Your Provider

This blog post is the fourth part of a series highlighting the best practices for EDI-as-a-Service in planning and evaluation.

As you go about the implementation of an EDI-as-a-Service solution, knowing partner setups and determining an internal contact with your provider at the start of the implementation can save you a lot of time effort and frustration in the long-run.

Understanding partner setups, changes and how long they take

When onboarding new partners and implementing new transactions, a common complaint is that the process takes too long. Sometimes changes that should take minutes, take days or weeks. How can the expectation be set that a change sometimes isn’t instantaneous, but may take longer? Continue reading

Choosing EDI-as-a-Service and TCO

This blog post is the third part of a series highlighting the best practices for EDI-as-a-Service in planning and evaluation.

As past entries in this series pointed out, determining if EDI-as-a-Service is right for your business, and which provider solution makes the most sense, requires some careful consideration. Two very important caveats are to be sure to choose a solution based on requirements instead of provider capabilities, and approach your selection with a broadened view of total cost of ownership (TCO).

Pick EDI-as-a-Service for Requirements, Not Provider Capabilities

When EDI-as-a-Service offerings initially became available, “on-network translation” were the provided capabilities which hosted on Value Added Networks (VANs). Data format flexibility was minimal due to limited EDI translation options, where direct integration with enterprise applications and data resources could be offered, but came with a large price tag for the customization. Continue reading