If you’re shopping for a new ERP system, I’m assuming you’re focused on finding the right accounting, supply chain, and CRM functionality.
I’m also guessing you haven’t given much thought to EDI functionality.
Although I work for a SaaS EDI provider, I’m not offended. And I don’t blame you one bit for not putting EDI at the top of your functionality list.
As important as EDI is for exchanging information, it’s not core functionality. It’s something that helps you go that last mile in automating your B2B communication.
Of course, that mile is extremely important. It’s far more important than most ERP vendors realize. Poor integration with EDI can mean errors and delays in your relationships with your trading partners.
Nevertheless, ERP vendors spend most of the sales cycle touting the features of their products. When you ask them about integration with EDI, they’re likely to say something like, “Yeah, we have a professional services team that can help you set that up.”
I mean no disrespect to professional services teams, but this is the point at which many implementations become a real headache.
That’s why I’m proposing a better idea: why not make SaaS EDI your go-to service for the next ERP platform you implement?
Make All Your EDI Connections in the Cloud
Don’t make the common mistake of thinking all cloud EDI solutions are alike. The one thing they have in common—the thing that makes them SaaS EDI solutions in the first place—is that they offer a server, operating system, and application that don’t live under your company’s roof.
From there, things can vary widely.
Some companies that go to market with a so-called SaaS EDI solution are actually selling something quite different. They’re offering a managed service in which they take your EDI integration function off your hands and perform it themselves.
Now, I’ll admit that doesn’t sound half-bad. Imagine getting rid of the headache of building custom integrations to every trading partner your company adds from now until the end of time. You’d probably pay decent money to have that service.
But just because it would be easier for you doesn’t mean it would be easier for your EDI vendor. Any time humans have to write code and build connectors, there’s a chance that something will go wrong. Data won’t transmit correctly, a connection will break, and there will be a need for testing, iteration, and retesting to get things right.
What’s really needed, then, is a SaaS EDI solution that’s made up of reliable, prebuilt connections to many of the world’s biggest trading partners. These connections would be built once, tested once, and then sit in the cloud, ready for hundreds or thousands of vendors to tap into them.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
I’ll say it again: EDI isn’t a core function of your business, even though it’s an essential one.
In fact, EDI infrastructure is your plumbing for data trading. You need to make sure that your company’s sinks and toilets work. So you hire an expert plumbing company to install them in the first place.
But you shouldn’t have to hire a plumber and keep him on staff just in case. Your expectation is that your plumbing will work the vast majority of the time.
It’s the same with a good SaaS EDI solution. Subscribe to it once, connect with your trading partners, and then forget about it.
Problems Shouldn’t Be a Problem
OK, so what happens when something does go wrong with your EDI transactions? If you have to call your cloud EDI vendor every time and request a change, you’re going to slow your business to a crawl.
That’s why you should be sure to work with a SaaS EDI vendor that actually gives you the tools to make changes yourself. These tools should be simple and intuitive enough that even your non-technical staff can handle routine maintenance.
After all, your staff members know your business and your EDI transactional needs better than anyone. They should be the ones empowered to maintain your system, rather than having to call a consultant and explain the problem.
Your staff should even be able to add new trading partners to your network without involving the EDI vendor. As your business grows, setting up new EDI relationships should only be a matter of a few clicks.
Orderful offers the leading SaaS EDI platform. Talk with us to learn more how our SaaS EDI solution can help you today.