Salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, and spaghetti and meatballs are just some combinations that make each other better. However, there are few combinations in the technology world that go together better than EDI and the supply chain. In fact, the EDI-supply chain combination is what ultimately drives global commerce today.
EDI is the business language that unites every participant in supply chains and helps today’s companies provide better and more transparent service to its customers. Any supply-chain-centric business will run into EDI in some way, shape, or form (even the ones that primarily rely on non-EDI data exchange), and it’s those companies that take advantage of modern EDI platforms that will thrive in a landscape transformed by digital and e-commerce channels and revolutionized by Amazon.
From outdated IT infrastructure to operational silos, there are many IT obstacles standing in an enterprise’s way of executing at its maximum capacity. While EDI remains one of them for too many organizations due to legacy and homegrown solutions, a number are realizing the business value of the B2B data exchange that EDI enables. It’s those that are turning to modern integration platforms to better manage their ecosystems and thus, their supply chains, to:
- Improve order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes
- Hit important KPIs for shipping and logistics
- Enable visibility into fulfillment and delivery
- Connect applications for end-to-end data processing
- More reliably meet customer and partner SLAs
- Reduce chargebacks and non-compliance fines
Here are some trends permeating EDI supply chain management workflows and how companies are working to address them to gain the aforementioned benefits and grow their businesses.
Trend #1 – The Marriage of EDI and APIs
EDI and APIs have been considered adversaries as of late. But as critical as EDI is to an organization, APIs are just as integral. APIs offer additional communication flexibility, so you can more easily exchange data with cloud-based apps and other digital ecosystem systems. Instead of having to choose one over the other, companies are learning the power of EDI and API technologies working together. If you plan on evolving and growing your business, then supporting EDI and API-based processes simultaneously will give you the flexibility to support everything from legacy B2B technologies to SaaS applications and cloud storage platforms. The reality is that you shouldn’t have to pick one or the other, as they largely augment each other.
Trend #2 – IT Skills Evolution
As cloud computing continues to infiltrate enterprise IT, the need for highly skilled professionals cannot be understated. Someone that is properly trained and able to handle EDI integration requests across an environment is extremely valuable in today’s modern enterprise. The problem is that these skilled IT professionals aren’t exactly easy to come by, and in fact, the necessary skill sets are rapidly evolving. Traditional EDI analyst roles, for example, are evolving into business analyst roles, where they work less on actual EDI data mapping or configuring partner requirements and more on overall trend analysis. These team members will ultimately embrace what the EDI data is telling them to improve partner relationships and design strategies for enhanced business outcomes.
Trend #3 – The Amazon Effect
The Amazon Effect certainly has disrupted retail and e-commerce industries, and many longtime business stalwarts, including Sears and Toys R Us, have been caught flat-footed and negatively impacted. But Amazon’s stringent supplier demands also has transformed how logistics, fulfillment, distribution, and manufacturing companies do business. In fact, Amazon bailing on its HQ2 project is having another Amazon effect all its own. At the end of the day, the Amazon effect has shown us that companies in any industry must ensure that the customer experience not only meets expectations but in most cases, exceeds them. Amazon changed the game with competitive pricing and lightning-fast shipping to real-time tracking and mobile support, and now providing all those things – while making yourself as easy to do business with – is of the utmost importance.
Trend #4 – The Modernization of EDI
Yes, EDI has been around for quite some time now, but maturity can be a good thing! EDI’s evolved over the years and certainly is more than just a standardized data format. It’s a set of processes that ecosystem interaction and broader business value. EDI involves securing and governing data flows that drive the bottom line. It’s managing partner relationships and consistently improving on the business processes that matter. It’s also supporting all the non-EDI and ad-hoc data flows that your ecosystem throws at you. Today’s EDI technology arms companies with a platform to better execute these supply chain challenges in a modern way.
Discover What EDI Can Do for Your Business
The right kind of EDI supply chain strategy will enhance your operational efficiency, improve your relationships with your customers and trading partners, and give you increased visibility into your overall supply chain. But first, you must securely integrate your end-to-end ecosystem, which is no easy task given the range of legacy systems and cloud applications in use throughout a business today.
Supply chain companies and other organizations looking to comprehensively integrate and manage their ecosystem require EDI and non-EDI support, protocol depth, and increased visibility capabilities to enhance SLAs and maintain partner data compliance at all times. Cleo Integration Cloud provides those advanced data and ecosystem management capabilities to optimize your supply chain EDI transactions and more efficiently meet customer demand. Whether deploying integration technology on-premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid model, Cleo Integration Cloud helps ramp up your business processes, so you can reap all the promised benefits of EDI in supplier onboarding and supply chain management. Contact Cleo and boost your EDI supply chain today.