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.

Detecting differences between EDI-as-a-Service providers can be difficult, so it’s important to notice gaps in service levels, technology and personnel – these tend to manifest under stress.

A few pointers to especially consider as a prospective client:

  • Identify risks and potential vulnerabilities before choosing a provider, which is difficult without direct experience
  • Start by identifying EDI service risks and your tolerance for possible consequences
  • Be open with prospective suppliers about any concerns you have with their capabilities or policies
  • Get specific about problem cases that concern you, and find out their solutions

When you are cross-referencing with their customers, ask about the customer’s experiences with provider support, along with responsiveness to outages and other emergencies. Additionally, ask about the provider’s willingness and ability to offer non-standard partner connections and last-mile integrations. Lastly, verify that your provider can accommodate changing business and technology needs.

While choosing an EDI-as-a-Service provider, you may feel that there are a lot of steps to take and information that can be skipped. It’s important to realize that the process takes time, and finding the partner who is the right fit for your business needs will pay-off in the long haul because you’ll hopefully spend less time fielding EDI errors, and more time focused on your customers.

From this series, we have reviewed ways to prepare for EDI-as-a-Service with items you may not have considered as well as parts you may be familiar with, but may not realize more is involved. One of the most important takeaways from this series is to make the selection for EDI-as-a-Service based on your unique business needs. By doing so, you may not be electing the option with everything offered, but you will ensure you aren’t overbuying and are delivered exactly what you’re looking for.

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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