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?

Before signing a contract to engage with a new provider, be sure to ask the below questions so that you better understand the change process and what the typical turnaround time is for:

  • New partner onboarding for standard EDI transactions
  • New partner onboarding for non-standard transactions (XML, flat file, etc.)
  • New transaction implementations (standard and non-standard) for existing partners
  • EDI version updates
  • Changes to partner connections (e.g., authentication protocol changes)
  • Changes to external (SaaS) application connections
  • Changes to internal application and data interfaces

Sometimes there are pieces of the process, such as gathering, researching partner specs and other hard-to-predict tasks, which will add uncertainty to the turnaround time. To avoid, establish the terms of engagement in advance to improve the predictability and efficiency of other aspects in the change process.

One of the largest reasons companies will change providers is due to dissatisfaction with partner setups and changes, which will require re-implementation of EDI processes and typically last-mile integration.

Designate an Internal Contact to Coordinate with Your Provider

EDI-as-a-Service makes it easier for businesses to run their EDI in some cases, and if you choose to use a provider, you should know there are some activities that cannot or should not be fully outsourced, such as:

  • Trading partner coordination/management: By having existing employee relationships with trading partners, they can facilitate connections with partner contacts, breaking through red tape and helping when escalation is needed can help facilitate connections
  • Internal system interface coordination: The EDI-as-a-Service provider must have access to internal knowledge of interfaces and business data in order to implement or change last-mile integration
  • Internal responses to exceptions and errors: Resolution of critical errors and exceptions that originate from internal systems require coordination with appropriate internal personnel
  • Change approval and payment of change fees: An internal contact authorized to approve changes reduces delays in the change process

In thinking ahead to the ease of implementation EDI-as-a-Service for your business needs, it’s important to take as many factors into consideration ahead of time as possible to avoid issues or misunderstandings arising during or after the implementation process.

For more information about EDI-as-a-Service, download our “Best Practices for EDI-as-a-Service Planning and Evaluation” whitepaper.

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