How to Choose the Right EDI Provider for Your Enterprise
There are many enterprises out there who are unable to onboard trading partners quickly or bring on new business. Why? Because they have yet to digitally transform their organization to support the revenue-driving B2B and EDI data exchanges. Without the proper technology in place to meet evolving business needs, companies struggle to connect and integrate external and internal systems, cloud applications, and trading partners.
EDI enables enterprises to transfer standardized data to and from the members of their business ecosystems, but it’s more than just a data format. It’s also a set of governance, onboarding, management, and visibility processes, and the companies that embrace EDI processes as a key revenue-generation engine that are beginning to understand the importance of a modern EDI platform. But EDI service providers might share some the brunt of the blame as well.
Whether you are submitting a purchase order to buy goods from a manufacturer or supplier and sell it in your store or receiving an invoice from a vendor or partner for their services, standardized EDI documents help ensure transmission and readability of critical information among your enterprise, trading partners, customers, and other members of your digital ecosystem. But there are many EDI providers that an enterprise can choose to do business with and not all are created equal.
Not every EDI service provider can offer the integration tools required to flourish as a modern business. A lot of EDI VAN providers will try to tell you that you’re getting a premier solution or the best EDI software, but “doing EDI” also involves more than just moving documents around. It involves reliably and seamlessly integrating all its associated processes. EDI integration allows businesses to automate their day-to-day transactions in a way that provides business value, such as end-to-end data processing.
EDI technology itself has been around for many years, but companies are recognizing that they need to modernize their EDI solutions to better serve their customers and evolve their businesses.
What to Look for In an EDI Provider
When selecting a new EDI provider, there are many features that you should look for to ensure you are partnering with a company that has the right flexibility and tooling for your business success.
1. Support for Any Standard or Format
It is so important that your EDI provider can support any standards or formats that you need (or potentially need). This means complying with ANSI X12, EDIFACT, and Tradacoms standards but also supporting other non-EDI formats, including XML, CSV, and JSON files to serve your customers and partners in all the ways they want to communicate. Being able to transform and orchestrate any data, regardless of the format, is one of the key features within a modernized EDI platform.
2. Automated Business Processes
Do you have anyone on the payroll whose job revolves around manual data entry for incoming orders? Too many companies do, and scalability during peak seasons or as you grow becomes hiring more workers for manual data work. And that’s no way to scale. When organizations are relying on outdated, pieced-together, or legacy EDI technology, employees spend countless hours on manual tasks that prohibit them from focusing on core business objectives. Modern integration technology enables seamless B2B communication that doesn’t require human intervention and that supports business process automation. Your EDI technology should be helping you accelerate the order-to-cash process, not bogging it down.
3. End-to-End Visibility
Visibility around the execution of your EDI processes – and to know when to act on errors and failed transfers – is extremely valuable. But it’s understanding the demand for your goods and services, including which trading partners are doing the most business and how and when they’re ordering, helps you better understand your important ecosystem relationships. Custom-coded, one-off, and point-to-point B2B solutions create data silos that don’t offer comprehensive governance and transparency. EDI service providers must provide dashboards for business and technical users to gain customer insight and intelligence and make more informed business decisions.
4. Expedited Trading Partner Onboarding
One of the benefits to modernizing an EDI environment is that it helps make your business easy to do business with. Whether it’s a trading partner or a customer, the very first interactions you have must be well-executed to set the tone for the relationship. So, having the right technology will accelerate the onboarding process because it quickens the configuration and data migration processes, and automates map generation workflows to get interacting faster. The result is a better EDI experience, increased time to value and added credibility as a true business partner.
5. Minimized SLA Fines, Penalties
Missed customer SLAs and mounting compliance violations can lead to costly chargebacks and other financial penalties. The reliability of your B2B communications is critical to ensuring a healthy partnership with every member of your ecosystem. Perhaps the system routinely throws ASN errors or fails to send acknowledgment documents. Such missteps often require manual intervention and further hold up the process. A leading third-party EDI service provider eliminates these errors and will provide alert and notifications for events and even non-events, for when an expected document hasn’t arrived. This reduces operational latency and other errors that lead to customer dissatisfaction and costly SLA penalties.
Why Choose Cleo for EDI?
EDI integration with Cleo Integration Cloud delivers a combination of technology and business process improvement that the modern enterprise demands. Cleo’s data transformation capabilities take advantage of an EDI translator that can accept and transform EDI and any other data format to quickly exchange data with other systems and applications. This helps automate and expedite the B2B communications critical to your bottom line.
But the real difference lies in how Cleo delivers its EDI services. Cleo offers a strategic blend of managed and self-service options, and customers can deploy their EDI integration tools on-premise, in a private cloud, or as hosted, managed services, whichever strategy your business requires.
Traditional approaches to managed services for integration can be costly for a “black box” service, where enterprises have little visibility into and control over their B2B data flows. Additionally, many EDI VAN providers and services only offer partial solutions. Most simply cover EDI, whereas Cleo’s ecosystem integration approach solves comprehensive EDI, cloud, application, and data integration patterns.
You shouldn’t be penalized for expanding your ecosystem. Cleo helps support your business growth, while removing EDI integration complexity and accelerating your time to market. Cleo’s vast expertise in flexibly delivering EDI for high-volume production environments ensures the B2B processes driving your business ecosystem are in capable hands.
There are numerous reasons to modernize your EDI platform, including process automation, error reduction, and improved data flow efficiency. Learn why Cleo should be your partner along the way.