The Future of EDI Technology: No End in Sight

2min read



Remember when you got your first email account? Basic email functionality really hasn’t changed much since then. Still, despite the lack of innovation, email continues to be the standard for business communication.

The same is true of EDI technology. The technology itself hasn’t changed much. But it remains our go-to technology because it does a simple job well.

So is EDI technology here to stay? Don’t be so sure.

What It Will Take to Replace EDI Technology

EDI technology enables companies to automate their supply chain transactions. It’s not perfect, but it’s ingrained in just about every business that buys and sells raw materials and products. You can’t play the game if you’re not using the right equipment.

To make this equipment work, companies have built dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of point-to-point integrations that connect their systems of record to those of their trading partners.

To replace EDI with another technology would require consumer products companies to rebuild or replace these thousands of integrations, which is practically a non-starter. Sure, if all retailers in the world suddenly switched to blockchain and demanded that their suppliers switch over, too, the suppliers would have to follow suit or risk losing all their clients. But it would be a nuclear bomb blast to the entire supply chain.

If the industry is ever going to replace EDI technology with something else, it’s going to have to be a “something else” that allows for an effortless transition.

That “something else” can only be a cloud EDI solution that uses API technology to let manufacturer and retailer systems talk directly to each other.

API Technology Takes Center Stage

EDI technology has had a great run in helping consumer products companies and retailers automate thousands of transactions each year. But when systems can talk directly to each other using API technology, transactions will happen even more quickly with less chance of technical difficulties.

Of course, sweeping changes across the supply chain can’t and won’t happen overnight. One of the major obstacles is that for trading partners to connect their systems through APIs, they need the help of developers.

Rather than hire people to write their code, trading partners can connect to a cloud EDI technology that provides an API hub.

Consumer product companies would be able to easily connect their systems of record to the platform and send their data. The provider would then send this data via EDI to retailers’ systems on the back end.

Over time, retailers would connect to the platform via API, too. Once enough retailers started doing it, everyone would have to do it. We could finally see the entire industry leave EDI technology behind and embrace API.

Want to be a part of this next big change in the supply chain?

Talk to us about how a cloud EDI platform can actually make it easy, too.


Go live with new trading partners in days, not months. Orderful’s modern EDI platform standardizes integrations and streamlines testing, getting your business connected with partners 10x faster than other solutions.

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