The Importance of Delivery Model in Today’s EDI Campaigns
For many enterprises EDI is the main source of how revenue flows into the business. It’s often considered the lifeblood of a company. If not done well there can be a great deal of risk and hardship.
Managing an EDI campaign requires a specific knowledge base that few have. Different from other areas of business these skills are not widely carried across the majority of today’s technical staffs. Generally companies are lucky to have a small handful of people with this unique background. This makes choosing the correct software/service provider and delivery model imperative to avoid problems that could damage customer relationships and cash flow.
Many other technology platforms that companies invest in have inherent cross training. CRM and ERP environments often have large teams of people that work on them and in them on a daily basis. This is rarely the case with EDI.
For years companies didn’t have much choice when it came to B2B community enablement. They are mandated to participate by their trading partners and this would require them to buy software and hire the appropriate technical talent. Fortunately today there are choices. Some still buy the software, maintain the environment and staff required. Some take advantage of other delivery models and offload much of the heavy lifting when it comes to EDI.
There are three general delivery models to choose from:
On premise / self-managed
Hosted / self-managed
Cloud / managed service
On premise / self-managed model has been around for forty years. This is a common choice for companies that still desire to keep everything in-house and don’t assign a great deal of importance to a cloud strategy.
Hosted / self-managed model is similar. The end user still needs to maintain the staff with the required skillset. Their EDI environment may be collocated in an offsite data center but the company is still responsible for the daily maintenance of the environment, adding transaction sets / trading partners and error resolution.
With the prevalence of cloud based ERP and CRM solutions today the two models above, for some, make less sense and carry a risk of failure. Getting and keeping EDI capable people has become difficult. Companies that have made the decision to implement a cloud / managed service delivered ERP/CRM see the value in outsourcing.
When making a decision on which direction and delivery model to choose a company needs to look a three things. Does this provider line up with your cloud strategy? Do you want to maintain EDI capabilities in-house? Do you see the value and reduced risk involved with today’s cloud / managed service delivery? The answers to these three questions should help point you in the right direction.