For decades, EDI integration solutions have been used by multiple industries such as manufacturing, finance, retail, healthcare, and others to smoothen business transactions and deliver value in the form of ROI and brand image.
Leveraged in the early 1970s, EDI initially served as the de facto standard for electronic data exchange across all supply chain ecosystems. Rather than having each business invent its own data layout for myriad business documents including, purchase orders (POs) and invoices, EDI allowed business users leverage a standard format to foster strong business relationships.
But this isn’t the case always. With data becoming more enormous and complex, and advances in technology, the standards in the EDI increased by leaps and bounds. Consequently, it turned out to be difficult for users to tackle multiple versions of standards and not everyone could make changes in their EDI maps which, in turn, impacted processing speed. Further, the growth of optional fields and structures in EDI documents – coupled with all fields, different hierarchical levels, repeating loop structures, and so forth to safeguard every possible business relationship on a specific document, thereby complicating processes, sabotaging customer experiences (CXs), ultimately making companies difficult to do business with.
Ergo, a need arose to augment the capabilities and functionalities of EDI integration solutions. By supercharging the impact of these platforms, companies can handle large volumes of data and harness the true potential of information to drive the business forward.
Business users that have been relying on EDI integration software to drive information exchange must map received documents into some other format and map existing data from their applications and databases into an EDI format to deliver maximum value. Honestly, it’s a tedious format to do business with and facilitate data exchange processes because it is present as an intermediary format between organizations.
The complications increase further due to the proliferation of data. Additionally, as a business grows, it can have a multitude of internal applications that support data exchange processes. Business users employing EDI integration solutions find it difficult to handle large volumes of data and growing internal applications. They need the support of IT to deal with such tasks that inhibit IT from taking more high-value tasks. In other words, IT does not get the breathing space, compromising their productivity. Additionally, it’s challenging for enterprises to keep track of various EDI documents used that compromises integration building processes.
Multiple standard bodies and grown standard document formats for EDI can trigger problems with cross-compatibility
These standards also push standards revisions on an annual basis which could trigger problems if companies have a more recent document version than a business partner.
EDI integration is costly and also difficult to implement.
When organizations witness these roadblocks, they have constructed API to empower users support complex and customized information delivery and value chains that fail to fit into particular standard EDI documents. However, even with API, challenges arise. The biggest challenge is, API involves a lot of technical debt, especially while executing API versioning. And sometime this debt is more than that in EDI. Plus, it fails to offer complete visibility into data exchange and other processes that can cause agility and collaboration issues.
It provides low-visibility into exchange processes that can cause compound collaboration and data quality issues, thereby impacting CXs and ROI.
It poses an immense burden on IT as they have to carry out complex API coding that slows down their productivity.
Hence, neither EDI nor API enables a business user harness the true data potential by building customer data connections with speed and precision. Self-service integration shines here. It enables all business users integrate data and drive data exchange processes without excessively relying on IT. Functionalities like AI mapping, pre-built applications connectors, shared templates, interactive dashboards, and, more play important here. Business users can employ these solutions to make use of customer data, extract data insights faster, and leverage information to deliver delightful CXs. Meanwhile, IT can take the governance role and focus on other high-value tasks.