Tag Archives: EDI

EDI Modernization Strategy: Five Decision Factors (Part 1)

Introduction: blog post is the first part of a series highlighting the five decision factors needed for EDI modernization strategy.

Understanding EDI Modernization

EDI (electronic data interchange) has been a data transfer method used to standardize message formatting by businesses for several years. One of the newer considerations coming into play, however, is EDI modernization, which extends B2B integration and automation capabilities beyond classic EDI to support modern business requirements.

Companies are changing the way they connect, automate business processes and exchange data, all which are evident in modern B2B integration. Its value is in expanding integration capabilities while reducing cost and complexity of partner onboarding and operations. On the other hand, classic EDI still remains essential, but is unable to fully provide modern B2B integration needs.

For this reason, there are some points to consider if EDI remains right for your business, or if you need additional functionality EDI modernization provides. Some key questions to ask whether it’s time for EDI modernization are:

  • How do a business’s value network and role drive B2B integration priorities?
  • What additional requirements apply to businesses that are large, fast-growing, or complex?
  • How can integration capabilities and assets be leveraged to increase value?
  • What factors apply when deciding whether to outsource infrastructure, trading partner onboarding, operations, and / or other services, or source them in house?
  • What strategies and trade-offs apply when adopting a new B2B integration solution?

In answering the above questions, understanding and prioritizing modernization objectives will enable businesses to create a strategy then execute it.

The figure below explains how features from traditional EDI differ from EDI modernization.

Figure 1

Modern B2B integration adds capabilities (black/dark text) that extend Classic EDI (red/light text).

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Gathering Requirements

Requirements Gathering for Integration Projects

Requirements Gathering is a complex process with the purpose of defining a list of capabilities that we expect to meet, once the project is completed.  Given that very “business-y” definition, let’s explore the process of Requirements Gathering and how it relates to Integration projects.  In this blog, I will start to address the approach I use to gather requirements and then we’ll apply that approach in subsequent blogs to use cases.

Simply creating a punch-list of features/capabilities/behaviors is not enough to fully define the requirements of an Integration project. Just meeting the defined expectations of A, B, C and so on requires a much deeper dive into what is truly going on, both within the organization and externally with other integration partners (customers, vendors and industry consortiums).

The Requirements Gathering process usually starts when a project is created.  In formal organizations, this initiates with the approval of a project charter, identifying a project Sponsor.  In smaller organizations, this can be either a tactical (reactive) or a strategic (forward-thinking) effort directed by a department head or line-of-business manager.  Once the project is initiated, the scope of the project is usually defined and documented. Continue reading

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