EDI or Electronic Data Interchange is a computer to computer communication method used by companies for more than 30 years to exchange business information electronically. These electronic data exchanges follow specific standards that allows them to be implemented more easily. There are many standards but the most commonly used are: X12 and EDIFACT.
The question to be asking yourself is:
Will EDI integration help my company, and if so, how?
Manual Information flows require extensive human interaction and numerous paper documents. Document exchange, handling, sorting, distributing, organizing, and searching paper documents all require many points of human interaction; and that typically indicates high costs.
Many companies are avoiding the costs associated with manual information exchange by accomplishing the same transmission of information through EDI transactions. The cost savings, decreased opportunity for errors, speed, and visibility of these transactions have made them the approach of choice for the majority of US companies.
Here you’ll find our top 4 reasons for EDI Integration
- Better and faster service
EDI Integration allows companies to provide a better and faster service thanks to automation of business interactions. This means that a request from a customer will trigger an automatic work flow within your own company, that will conclude in a confirmation for your customer within their own system.
- Eliminate manual data entry errors
Another advantage if EDI Integration is the opportunity to reduce or eliminate manual data entry errors, such as shipping and billing errors. Thanks to the integration, the data is entered by your customer, and then reused by your own system when needed. This includes checks and revisions, conversions or mapping, and the triggering of all associated tasks within the work flow.
- Access to a larger portion of the Marketplace
EDI is growing faster every year. According to the US Department of Commerce sales via e-commerce have tripled since 2006 reaching a 7.2% of all the sales in US. And that number is likely to continue growing.
Further, we have seen a growing number of companies that have chosen to only accept transactions via EDI, locking you out of certain market segments if you are not EDI capable. This increases the fundamental advantage over your competitors that EDI capabilities provide..
EDI messages can be passed in a secure way to ensure confidentiality, refutability and integrity of the message’s content. To ensure the message’s integrity a hashing algorithm is used on the message’s content, and then undone on receipt of the message by the other party. To enforce transaction integrity messages are equipped with a sequence number and both parties of the transaction are authenticated based on digital signatures.
Transaction integrity tries to overcome problems when EDI messages are lost, sent unwillingly or duplicated. Confidentiality is ensured by encrypting messages. To avoid refutability parties can require every message, sent as part of a transaction, to be confirmed.
If you are strategically thinking about the next move in growing your business, one of the best ways is to make your systems capable of handling EDI transactions. To do so there are many tools available in the market (such as BizTalk or IBM Websphere) that allows companies to exchange EDI transactions with many other systems.
Implementing those tools is worthwhile, but sometimes difficult, task for those not familiar with their operation. The expert staff at Art2link stands ready to help your business implement and configure EDI integration tools to help your business take the next step towards sustainable growth.
For more information about EDI Integration click here.