The Critical Shift to Cloud EDI and Modern Supply Chain Technology
Legacy electronic data interchange (EDI) systems are slowing companies down. Manual EDI processes and outdated on-premise EDI software cannot keep pace with the speed of innovation in other enterprise technologies. To remain competitive in today’s omnichannel landscape, brands must urgently modernize their EDI infrastructure by implementing new cloud EDI integration platforms.
This was the key takeaway from an insightful recent webinar hosted by Orderful on adopting cloud EDI and next-generation supply chain solutions to unlock revenue growth. They assembled a panel of experts to discuss the limitations of traditional EDI, best practices for upgrading technology, and real-world examples of companies generating ROI through EDI modernization.
Insights from Veteran EDI and Supply Chain Leaders
The panel included:
- Erik Kiser, Founder & CEO of Orderful
- Joe Spisak, Founder & CEO of Fulfill.com
- Austin Kreinz, Founder & CEO of Atomix
- Mario Paganini, Former VP Stord & Shippo
With decades of combined expertise across EDI transactions, supply chain operations, technology, and integration - these industry veterans provided valuable insider perspectives on EDI modernization.
Their expansive discussion covered the restrictions of legacy EDI systems, step-by-step guidance for implementing new cloud EDI software, and the substantial quantitative benefits that brands can achieve from upgrading their outdated EDI processes.
The Root Causes of Legacy EDI System Limitations
Many enterprises still need to rely on antiquated EDI solutions implemented 10-20 years ago or more. These inflexible legacy EDI platforms were designed for a different era of commerce that predated omnichannel sales and supply chain automation.
Trying to adapt outdated on-premise EDI software to modern needs is exceptionally challenging. Legacy EDI lacks the agility, scalability, and seamless integration capabilities required for unified management of B2B and B2C transactions across diverse e-commerce channels, brick-and-mortar, wholesale, and online marketplaces.
Siloes between legacy EDI systems create major bottlenecks that significantly hinder a brand’s ability to capitalize on new revenue opportunities quickly, optimize logistics networks and shipping, and deliver seamless cross-channel customer experiences. Relying on manual EDI processes like email and spreadsheets rather than automation is also highly inefficient.
Legacy EDI solutions also restrict the growth of supply chain partners by preventing 3PLs, freight providers, and carriers from rapidly adopting newer logistics services, capabilities, and next-generation transportation management technology due to integration difficulties.
As Joe Spisak, CEO of Fulfill.com, explained during the web seminar, antiquated EDI warehouse management systems often cannot correctly integrate purchase orders, sales data, and other EDI documents with separate order management platforms, sales channels or shipping carrier EDI transactions. This frequently causes significant headaches for brands trying to expand omnichannel operations.
Navigating the Optimal Path to EDI Modernization
Migrating from legacy EDI systems to cloud-based platforms is challenging but vital for supply chain competitiveness. A portion of the webinar focused on providing actionable advice for smoothly navigating EDI modernization based on the panelists’ proven experiences.
Here are the two most significant barriers identified that companies face when looking to implement new EDI software solutions and platforms:
- Lack of EDI and Technical Expertise
Most brands lack knowledgeable developers and EDI specialists on staff who can seamlessly transition existing workflows from legacy EDI software to modern cloud EDI integration platforms. Building and maintaining custom EDI connections is highly complex and resource-intensive. Many organizations do not have this capability internally.
- Difficulty Transitioning from and Retiring Existing EDI Solutions
For enterprises using a legacy EDI system for over a decade, migrating years of archived EDI documents, historical data, route sheets, customer transaction records, and workflows to a new platform can be challenging. Companies must thoroughly re-train personnel across departments and re-design company-wide core processes to fully leverage new cloud EDI technology post-implementation.
During the webinar, Erik Kiser - Founder & CEO of Orderful - emphasized that strategically retiring legacy EDI software, moving mission-critical supply chain data to the cloud, dismantling complex hard-coded connections, and standardizing around new EDI transaction standards like ANSI X12 is a multi-year endeavor requiring extensive planning and resources for large organizations.
Orderful encourages companies to take an incremental “chunking” approach by setting up small, controlled pilots focused on specific EDI use cases and trading partners before attempting a full-scale rip-and-replace overhaul. Their EDI specialists provide extensive implementation assistance and managed services to ease these cloud EDI transitions for enterprise customers.
Quantifying the Business Benefits of EDI Modernization
The webinar highlighted numerous compelling benefits and ROI examples from global brands that have successfully implemented next-generation cloud EDI solutions:
- 90%+ faster onboarding of new EDI trading partners. With Orderful's cloud EDI integration platform, new B2B and supplier EDI connections can be completed in as little as two weeks instead of the 3-6 months required previously.
- Increased revenues, sales velocity, and growth from quickly capitalizing on new omnichannel sales channels, marketplaces, and opportunities through rapid EDI integrations.
- Lower supply chain costs and overhead by eliminating slow manual EDI processes. Total EDI document processing effort drops substantially with automated and streamlined cloud EDI workflows.
- Optimized shipping with real-time EDI carrier integrations to dynamically route purchase orders, invoices, and sales orders for the best transportation cost and delivery speed. This is incredibly impactful for omnichannel order brokers.
- Improved visibility and control over supply and demand planning, inventory management, logistics, and fulfillment when modern cloud EDI software allows disparate systems to communicate and synchronize data seamlessly.
- Enhanced order customization, personalization, and customer experience capabilities with the flexibility of cloud-based EDI integration platforms.
Cloud EDI: The Future of Interconnected Supply Chain Networks
The webinar panelists unanimously agreed that future supply chains will be powered by “pre-connected” global cloud EDI networks rather than fragmented legacy EDI software and point-to-point integrations.
Next-generation EDI platforms like Orderful allow the near real-time onboarding of new trading partners and B2B connections through cloud EDI in a matter of days - rather than the weeks or months required by traditional EDI systems.
This transition mirrors the mass enterprise shift from on-premise licensed software to cloud-based SaaS solutions over the past decade. It will enable greater supply chain visibility, flexibility, speed, and collaboration.
As Erik Kiser - Founder & CEO of Orderful succinctly stated during the web seminar, “The future of EDI will be pre-connected. Supply chains of the future will be pre-connected.”
Webinar Key Takeaways and Recommendations
For enterprises looking to maintain competitiveness and thrive in the years ahead, urgent EDI modernization is no longer optional but a strategic imperative.
Here are the key recommendations provided by the experts for supply chain organizations to drive greater innovation, agility, resilience, and sustainable business growth:
- Identify and upgrade legacy EDI systems that are holding your operations back
- Implement user-friendly, scalable, cloud-based EDI software built for the digital era
- Maintain an intense focus on ease of EDI integration, data quality, and customer success
- Proactively engage trading partners to join emerging preconnected EDI networks
- Cultivate internal EDI expertise and explore complements like EDI-managed services
Watch the full on-demand cloud EDI webinar recording here to learn more directly from these industry veterans. Then, utilize the insights to start planning your organization’s technology modernization roadmap and transition to next-generation EDI systems that will cement your competitive advantage.