Yes, you most definitely can modernize your EDI and you should look for means that can enable you to do that. Modernization of your business-to-business integrations should be part of your data integration strategy to have a plan of how you would go about implementing the change.
As traditional methods have limitations that make your business-to-business data exchange less efficient, using those can result in lost revenue, slower on-boarding of new partners, slower data processing times, difficulties in managing and making modifications in the solutions. Additionally, owning the hardware and the software has high costs, just as the maintenance of the solution, licensing fees, training, and the overall usage of the EDI solution.
In this blog, we are looking at methods that are still in use in many organizations for EDI, why you need to upgrade your current processes, and how a cloud-based integration platform can help you to modernize your B2B integrations and data sharing.
EDI VAN (Value-Added-Network)
“A value-added network (VAN) is a private network provider (sometimes called a turnkey communications line) that is hired by a company to facilitate electronic data interchange (EDI) or provide other network services. Before the arrival of the World Wide Web, some companies hired value-added networks to move data from their company to other companies. With the arrival of the World Wide Web, many companies found it more cost-efficient to move their data over the Internet instead of paying the minimum monthly fees and per-character charges found in typical VAN contracts. In response, contemporary value-added network providers now focus on offering EDI translation, encryption, secure e-mail, management reporting, and other extra services for their customers.”
EDI VANs are still widely used in different industries to enable communication with partners, suppliers, manufacturers, and customers. It can transfer and translate the data in a secure way, however, it lacks many capabilities that can be done when doing EDI in the cloud.
Point-to-point integration is an alternative for EDI VAN. This refers to a single connection with a partner (or with a specific system), however, this can get way too complex once you need to connect with more than three systems or applications. It is especially difficult if you have to use different communication protocols (AS2, FTP, SFTP, etc.) and you have to deal with different messaging formats (even traditional, modern, and proprietary ones), as it gets very resource intensive and time-consuming. When your IT team needs to make modifications to the solution without a good documentation it gets to be a difficult and risky task. In case of something going wrong with the integrations, like one of the connectors stop working, the chances are big that it will influence your other connections too, and in this case, your solutions may not work until the error is fixed.
Point-to-point integrations are a burden for your IT team, they are not sustainable and scalable as your ecosystem is growing, and it is an extremely expensive solution for communicating with your business-to-business network.
Benefits of modernizing EDI
As your ecosystem is rapidly going and you need to be able to quickly onboard new partners, suppliers, manufacturers, or customers quickly to be able to share information with them in real-time. You need to have a solution in place that enables you to connect with them quickly regardless of the communication protocols or the data formats that they are using.
Updating the method of communication with your business-to-business network can help you to overcome the lack of real-time information, inconsistent data, complex messaging flows and connectivity, manual and paper-based processes, and high administrative costs.
It will increase the efficiency of your operations, improve end-to-end visibility across your ecosystem, and helps to improve collaboration and relationship with your network.
How to use iPaaS and for EDI?
You can manage connectivity with your partners whether it is connecting legacy on-premise systems to on-premise systems or to cloud applications. Using pre-built adapters, connectors, and integration templates you can onboard your new partners a lot more rapidly than when you are using an EDI VAN or build point-to-point integrations. Additionally, iPaaS solutions come with professional services and support teams that assist you with any modification requests, maintaining the solution, or training your IT team if you prefer to manage some of the maintenance by yourself.
Utilizing iPaaS for data exchange makes data governance easier. It won’t matter anymore what formats your partners use as during the information exchange the solution can translate the data to your preferred format, as well as validate it according to your business rules, and send it back for correction if necessary.
Creating and maintaining business-to-business integrations in the cloud is secure, agile, and scalable. The solution is always completely tailored according to your needs.
The best about this solution is that you don’t have to pay for software or hardware, so you can start with a smaller project to see and measure the benefits (and the ROI) and continue expanding your cloud-based data integrations once it’s proven its worth.
Get our EDI Transaction Sets to discover whether we support the EDIs that your company is using: