3 Reasons EDI Will Elevate Your Critical B2B Workflows
There’s probably some idiom we can spin to talk about the role of electronic data interchange (EDI) in today’s business world. Maybe something about an old dog and new tricks or about jumping through new hoops. But let’s leave the clichés alone for now and just recognize that there is indeed something different about EDI lately.
EDI has always been a great technology, one that automates business processes and simplifies once-cumbersome data workflows to enable faster transactions. But there’s been a resurgence in EDI use cases as of late. The data movement and transformation technology driving EDI processes has evolved to better enable the governance, visibility, and partner relationship management critical to doing business today.
Cloud integration and application integration capabilities, for instance, arm enterprises with the tools to support emerging connectivity use cases that enable more flexible ways to interact with new customers. Additionally, modern EDI solutions can be deployed in a way – in the cloud, on-premise (or private cloud), or in a managed services model – that fits an organization’s current and future needs.
Here are three reasons why EDI has been – and continues to be – a great technology that benefits businesses across industries:
EDI has standards
EDI’s rigid standardization that technologists often complain about is also a huge reason for its staying power. It’s difficult to maintain and scale B2B data exchanges without standardization, and the absence of standards to dictate a universal format is why APIs haven’t been able to replace EDI in the B2B world. An API is infinitely customizable to meet the requirements of the business for which it was produced, so connecting is in the hands of the developer.
Taking the manual effort out of the data exchange processes means businesses can automate more of the work to be more efficient, eliminate the labor-intensive activities, and put precious IT resources on more important projects.
Companies may have spent a lot of time and resources getting EDI up and running over the years (the technology admittedly has evolved into a less massive undertaking), but the result was a communication solution that works. It’s still the most widely accepted communication tool out there, and the largest organizations in the world won’t do business with you unless you support EDI.
For these reasons, the market isn’t explicitly pushing for a technology change, but rather is clamoring for better ways to do EDI. These include supporting more advanced protocols to move EDI data, offering EDI-as-a-service products, and providing fully-managed EDI solutions that provide flexible licensing options and predictable costs.
EDI technology is not the standalone data beast it used to be. Its purpose was moving order and invoice information among external trading partners. More often, companies are seeking to integrate other applications into that flow and require consolidated integration for ERP, CRM, WMS, and other cloud and on-premise applications.
Modern integration solutions enable this holistic connectivity and business-wide visibility at greater speeds so they can achieve faster time to revenue. Vendors like Cleo have engineered exciting platforms that address EDI integration needs holistically, across the full range of application and process integration workflows within the modern enterprise. (Learn how Cleo can seamlessly integrate EDI documents into the most popular business applications and cloud services, such as Salesforce, Expensify, and PayPal.)
There are so many great reasons to use EDI to automate the data exchange processes that drive your business. And now that modern EDI capabilities can provide a holistic and complete integration environment, companies gain the comprehensive approach they’re looking for and require.
Because previous iterations of EDI technologies couldn’t deliver all the transformation, orchestration, and the B2B governance and integration needs they demanded, companies desperately wanted to believe APIs were the silver bullet to solving these communication needs. What they were really looking for, however, was a better EDI technology.
But there is better EDI technology. Leading EDI providers are working to enhance and innovate solutions that integrate EDI into other workflows. And the integration capabilities that leading EDI providers deliver reaffirm its viability – and necessity – in the modern business ecosystem.