Today’s EDI is very different from what it was 10 or 15 years ago. When many companies made their last EDI technology investments, they were not facing the challenges they face today as they fill a supplier or intermediary role in the B2B value chain. They must support new shared processes, transactions, document types, and communication methods, all while meeting more stringent service levels.
Partner-driven and IT-driven integration changes are also propelling a wave of modernization. “Classic EDI” translators are being replaced by “Modern EDI” integration solutions, due to radical changes in internal business processes, on-premise and cloud (SaaS) applications, and new platforms.
Classic EDI refers to the exchange of standard electronic document types, with syntax and semantics defined by standards organizations, principally X12 and EDIFACT. Like Classic EDI, Modern EDI also embraces standard EDI document interchanges, but in addition, supports the interchange of non-standard, proprietary documents, mostly based on flat file, XML, and spreadsheet syntaxes.
But the differences between Classic and Modern EDI go beyond support for new document types:
Modern EDI reflects the increased diversity of partner, application, and service interfaces present in business environments today. That diversity imposes new requirements on EDI systems, including support for connections that combine applications, services, and data resources in powerful end-to-end business processes.
Modern EDI also simplifies EDI configuration and operation for IT and business users. IT personnel can onboard new partners and introduce changes to existing partner integrations using visual modeling, template-driven specification, and object reuse, instead of coding. And business professionals gain direct access to EDI activity data and results, through secure dashboards and email notifications.
Overall, modern EDI gives a business the ability to automate more kinds of partner interactions, and improves quality, accuracy, turnaround, and cost per transaction. It provides increased flexibility to connect with partners on their own terms, and makes it possible to respond faster to partner-driven changes. And it provides improved visibility and control over partner-facing connections and processes, allowing businesses to respond to exceptions before they become problems.
This segment was authored by Jim O’Leary in his white paper: Modernizing EDI: Drivers, Options, and Success Factors