Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is not only a model for information exchange, but an advanced method of multi-point networking delivering sublime partner data exchange. It enables enterprises to exchange, manage, and govern a colossal amount of business to business (B2B) data generated by enterprise systems in structured or unstructured file formats.
Business entities can securely exchange business information and provide foundational support to B2B operations with robust EDI capabilities. EDI inherently involves B2B governance, process management, visibility, process onboarding, etc. that helps enterprises in taking a leap ahead. While EDI has considerable benefits, its implementation is complex and can backfire when overlooked or mishandled.
Enterprises should ensure that they have a solid plan in place for strategizing EDI operations. Here are some industry-proven best practices that will help you prepare for drawing more value from EDI implementation:
Know different forms of EDI Frameworks: There are different form factors of EDI and enterprises should not mistake them as one. EDI vendors offer different solutions for different use cases. Some EDI solutions serve only a fraction of B2B capabilities to combine only two or more business partners. On the other hand, some EDI approaches support real-time data exchange with large number of business partners. Understanding these differences is important as these details help enterprises in knowing the limitations of their EDI solution.
An advanced EDI solution is enabled via a web-based interface. This solution duplicates documents online with business logic and defines how information will be sent or received. Multiple business partners can be connected over a network for collaboration and secure data exchange.
Look for Partner Enablement features: Conventional EDI solutions don’t support partner enablement. These solutions entail heavy coding at every end for building B2B integration flows. Enterprises lose significant revenue during this process as business operations are side-tracked till the time these flows are built. B2B processes can be significantly accelerated if partners build onboarding flows with the help of a share-publish library. This shared library enables enterprises to publish connections that partners can subscribe to for receiving business-critical information. Business users don’t have to wait for months for bringing data from partner networks without any complex coding involved.
Look for an EDI Solution instead of an EDI Tool: Enterprises should look for an enterprise-class solution instead of tools that are not meant for lifting heavy workloads. Many EDI vendors promise ease of use, but entail painful customizations and compromise on ERP updates. Such EDI tools are difficult to be maneuvered in a hybrid computing environment. On the other hand, a modern EDI solution takes care of start-to-end integration needs and supports multi-server or multi-instance environments.
Get Support for Multiple Data Standards: Enterprises today use advanced cloud-based technologies which use completely different databases and data models than stove-piped applications. Organizations should ensure that their EDI framework transforms data stored in all form factors and standards between cloud and ground systems. The proposed EDI framework should support instant data mapping and data transformations.
Ensure Automation: Enterprises can speed up B2B operations and reduce operational costs with automation of manual and repetitive tasks. They can manage many aspects of B2B operations with less resources involved. From a single view, business users can monitor transaction status and generate order fulfilment reports. Such a solution can be scaled for optimizing integrations and getting a fully managed experience.
Factoring these EDI best practices into your business data exchange strategy is not a small feat. Even enterprises with robust competency centers face problems in accommodating these capabilities in their EDI framework.
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