Category Archives: Executive Perspective

How to Grow a Business through Integration

Going for Growth

You’re ready to take your company to the next level, and know that in order to do this, you’ll need to change the way you do business. How do you better serve your customers, become more competitive, and take on new customers faster without breaking the bank, or over-extending staff and resources?

Processes Ease the Pressure

When it comes to IT, most small to mid-sized businesses face the same challenges: lack of budget and lack of staff. These departments struggle to maintain day-to-day operations, let alone have time to think about long-term strategies to help grow the business. In order to ease the pressure off IT, you’ll need to focus on creating more efficient processes that you can then automate.

Automation Starts with Integration

Before you look at what current processes can be condensed and automated, you need to make sure that all of your systems are, or can be, properly integrated. With a true integrator at the center of your data, you will be able to quickly increase the number of automated connections between applications, data and partner interfaces – without any custom code.

One Integrator to Connect Them All

A true integrator will connect to and exchange data with your existing internal systems, and the systems of your customers, vendors and suppliers. It will give you complete control over your data, and allow you to automate the processes that enable you to easily communicate with all parties, make faster business decisions, and take on new customers in far less time. A true integrator is designed with business “rules of engagement” in mind – meaning, no matter what your IT infrastructure looks like today or in 5 years, you will always comply with new and existing customer requirements. See how EXTOL integrates > 

 

Strategy to Modernize Your EDI Solution

It’s a new year. This is the year you’re finally gonna do something about your aging EDI solution. It’s likely this decision came down from above. “They” want to gain a competitive advantage, which could mean anything from decreasing partner on-boarding time to scrapping the whole ERP/platform/EDI suite in favor of something that’s better suited to your enterprise.

So… where do you go from here? Depending on your situation, your options could be anything from “Do nothing for now” to “Full replacement ASAP”. Carefully enumerating the options (like on a whiteboard) is a really useful exercise and will help you make a sound business case for your decision. But, in order to arrive at viable options (which management loves), you have to first know what this is going to impact. Continue reading

The End of Mapping is Here… Almost

A recent blog post by Steve Keifer, titled “The End of Mapping (in B2B Integration)”, asks why B2B translators can’t automatically identify and map source-to-target fields. Well, the answer is they can – at least EXTOL’s translators can. Our customers have been saving countless hours on mapping activities using EXTOL’s design-time automation technology for more than a decade!

With the Advanced Automapper feature in our EXTOL EDI Integrator for IBM i (EEI), our customers simply select a reference map, and the Advanced AutoMapper will compare it with other maps using the same files, generating a new map with the appropriate data fields. It is a very effective tool for the majority of customers, who have multiple trading partners, but trade the same or similar documents. Each new trading partner can be on-boarded much more quickly, eliminating most of the manual and repetitive mapping tasks. Continue reading

Charting Your EDI Modernization Strategy

EDI as we know it today is very different from what it was 10 or 15 years ago, when many companies made their last EDI technology investments.  Today’s businesses face a broader range of EDI requirements, including the ability to support proprietary document interchanges, near real-time transaction response, and web services.

When we talk with prospective customers about how they cope with new EDI integration requirements, the answers boil down to these five approaches: Continue reading

“EDI” Comes Before “ERP”

When you’re replacing enterprise systems…

Remember the alphabet: “EDI” comes before “ERP”

Many organizations facing enterprise-wide systems upgrades link the EDI and ERP systems selection processes, even though this approach may end up taking more calendar time and exposing the organization to greater risk.  My colleague Jim O’Leary has reminded me that some organizations value the “interface compatibility” resulting from a tandem decision, and his point is valid.  However, there may be other benefits to implementing EDI first, benefits that may be much greater than that of interface compatibility (which is often an ERP system issue). Continue reading