Barbara Babati 07.03.2018 8 min read

The Most Common EDI challenges

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In the previous blog, we talked about electronic data interchange in general, it’s advantages, different formats, why is it important, and how it is used.

However, EDI also has some challenges and it is a headache for many firms with extensive networks. As we already said in the previous blog, EDI is kind of a synonym for B2B integrations.

We will make a list of the most common EDI challenges and discuss how it can be resolved.

1. You have a complex B2B Network

As trade has started to be globalized, so has your business and you are cooperating with many partners, suppliers, manufacturers, freight forwarders, and the list is probably endless.

This means that you need to be able to connect with all these stakeholders and send them data electronically in real-time. You will need to able to connect to their systems (which is challenging itself, see one of our blog posts on the topic), you will have to deal with more information exchange transactions than ever before that also result in flaws in the quality, different EDI formats, and of course, concerns about the security of your data and systems.

You may also face challenges with some of your partners that lack awareness of the benefits of EDI and therefore they are concerned about data sharing.

2. The volumes of EDI are growing

More trade and more partners will equal with a growing volume of data that you generate and information that you need to share with your ecosystem.

You will have to think of how to connect with certain systems, how to improve the quality of the data, how secure it is to share data with your stakeholders, and whether you have the resources to handle all EDI related tasks in-house.

3. There are errors and missing fields in EDI

Avoiding errors and missing fields in the EDI is difficult, especially when you start to deal with bigger volumes.

Some older formats of EDI (EDIFACT or IMP) weren’t meant for humans to read and understand them, therefore catching and fixing errors can be challenging. Even when it’s possible to read the information, manual error detection is time-consuming and expensive, and can still result in errors.

Automating error detection can significantly increase productivity and increase gross margins.

4. The cost of EDI is skyrocketing

Owning software and hardware for EDI transactions requires substantial financial resources. Also, in-house maintenance is necessary, so you have to dedicate an IT team with knowledge on EDI. The growing volumes of data and flaws in data quality also result in additional costs.

To reduce the costs, you may want to look into alternative solutions for handling your EDI transactions. For example, outsourcing it to a vendor that can run the transactions in the cloud will significantly lower your costs.

5. EDI transactions must happen in real-time with more transparency

The speed of receiving information is critical for transparency. It can influence your productivity, efficiency of processes, costs, and customer satisfaction.

Improving communication and transparency with your partners will help everyone in the value chain to optimize operations and support one another better.

6. Your partner can’t understand the format you’re using

There are many different formats in use, such as EDIFACT, ANSI, X12, TRADACOMS, XML, JSON, IMP, CSV, ODETTE, VDA, VICS, HIPAA, EANCOM, ebXML, UBL ja RosettaNet, in-house formats, and national standards just to name a few.

Chances that some of your partners are using a format that your systems cannot understand is high, so you need to have a solution in place that can translate the information into a format that your systems can understand.

This is an overwhelming task that can be fixed with adapting to a data integration solution that can map the information from the document sent and translate it to the preferred format.

7. Security concerns

EDI is well established and used across many organizations and industries, nevertheless, there are still concerns regarding information sharing with partners.

Such concerns are the lack of trust, the risk of the information being exploited due to breaches in security, as well as there, are potential legal problems too due to organizational or governmental regulations.

How do we solve these EDI challenges?

Our ultimate goal is to simplify how you deal with your EDI transactions and minimize your costs.

Managing connectivity

First of all, we enable connectivity with all your partners regardless of the systems or applications that they use. Our solutions can handle challenging business-to-business integrations, such as getting data from behind firewalls, connecting on-premise systems, or connecting legacy systems with modern applications.

Decreasing EDI costs

Utilizing our EDI services means that you do not need to own software or hardware, but all your transactions will happen in the cloud. This means that you only pay for the setup and the data that you actually transfer.

More data doesn’t have to drive up the costs

As mentioned above, the growing amount of data has a negative effect on your costs. As we understand that the volumes can become overwhelming, we created a pricing model that is beneficial even for organizations that deal with millions of EDI transactions daily.

Improving data quality

To ensure that your data is flawless, we can set up logics for you that validate all the data against your business rules. You won’t need to do manual error detection anymore and therefore you’ll receive the information faster.

We can handle any EDI format

Our solutions can understand any data formats, and translate it to your preferred format while transferring the data to you or to your partners. Rapidly transforming the data will help you to process the information better and faster.

What EDI transactions do we support?

To learn more about which EDI transactions we support, take a look at the EDI Transaction sets from different industries:

Download the EDI Transaction Sets


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