Enterprises are always searching for different ways to improve efficiency. Most companies today want to streamline the process of trading information within the organization and between other businesses. Electronic data interchange (EDI) can be a much better alternative to paper-based exchanges, making them an ideal choice if you pick the right software solution. Selecting the right EDI provider for your solutions is an important and sometimes overwhelming process. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you find the right EDI provider and solution for your needs.
B2B Communication Standards and Protocols
When looking for the best EDI provider, it’s important to understand that EDI is all about the standardization of communications and formats. As a result, it’s important to be aware of the EDI standards and protocols that currently apply to your enterprise. Since EDI has been around for a long time and many enterprises are already using it, there are likely to be various different ones to consider.
EDI Software Types
There are two different types of EDI software solutions to consider. The first type will run on an IT system that you own, which is usually on your premises. You’ll usually be required to purchase a license for this type of software. This then allows EDI documents to exchange directly with the EDI system of your business partner. The second type is hosted by a third party, and is usually a cloud solution that you will access online though a subscription model. Cloud EDI solutions tend to be better suited to smaller businesses or groups of enterprises.
Integration and Functionality
Along with support for different EDI protocols and standards, the best EDI software provider will also need to support actionable EDI documents that your enterprise uses. Some basic examples include invoices, orders, acknowledgements, and shipping instructions. It could also include remittance notification, requests for quotation, financial statements and many more.
Scalability and Performance
EDI transaction volumes can vary a lot between companies, from a handful each week in small businesses to hundreds of thousands daily in larger enterprises. While browser-based or PC based EDI software might not be enough for the bigger businesses that often require powerful servers to keep up with the intense activity, they are often a suitable choice for smaller companies. Cloud-based EDI providers tend to have an advantage in terms of scalability since they are able to increase or decrease resources depending on the specific needs of the customer.
Considering Your Needs
Before choosing the right EDI provider for you, the first step is to clearly think about what your enterprise needs before you start looking at the datasheets for a product or service. Once you’ve come up with a shortlist of solutions that may be suitable for your company and its needs, it’s worth considering a trial. This is usually quite simple for cloud providers who will often offer a free trial for businesses to determine whether or not it is suitable.
Choosing the right EDI provider can make all the difference to your business.