What do you need to get started with EDI?
EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. It can make life so much easier for businesses that need to pile through hundreds of pages of reports, invoices and data. Sounds great—but what does your business need to get started with EDI?
Getting Started With EDI
First of all, determine the volume of paper transactions your company processes—this will help you determine how you will benefit from implementing an EDI solution.
If you have multiple documents that need attention from several agents throughout your process, and there is a large amount of data entry and document management required, then a streamlined EDI solution is for you.
The Origins of EDI
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) can trace its roots back to the 1960s when businesses started looking for ways to exchange data electronically instead of relying on paper-based processes. EDI got its start in the automotive industry, and was lauded for its security and success. Now it has permeated into other various industries, such as utilities and Health care.
Here are some key milestones in the history of EDI:
1968-1975: The Origins of EDI During this period, the first electronic messaging systems began to emerge. The Transportation Data Coordinating Committee (TDCC) developed a standard format for electronic messages, known as the TDCC Transport Data Format (TDF). This format laid the groundwork for the future development of EDI standards.
Late 1970s-1980s: Emergence of Standardized EDI Formats In the late 1970s and early 1980s, various industry groups and organizations started developing standardized formats for EDI messages. For example, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the United States developed the ANSI X12 standard, while the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/EDIFACT) created the EDIFACT standard, which gained international recognition.
1980s-1990s: EDI Adoption and Advancement During the 1980s, EDI gained significant traction as more businesses recognized the benefits of electronic data exchange. Companies across industries, such as retail, manufacturing, and automotive, began implementing EDI to streamline their supply chains, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. This period also saw advancements in EDI technology, including the introduction of value-added networks (VANs) that provided secure and reliable communication channels for EDI transactions.
1990s-Present: EDI and Internet Integration The widespread adoption of the Internet in the 1990s brought new possibilities for EDI. The emergence of internet-based protocols and technologies, such as AS2 (Applicability Statement 2) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol), allowed businesses to exchange EDI messages directly over the internet, bypassing the need for VANs. This integration of EDI with the internet opened doors for smaller businesses to adopt EDI more easily and facilitated faster and more cost-effective communication between trading partners.
Now that EDI has become more widely adopted, many of the benefits have been built and improved upon.
Cloud-based and API-driven EDI In recent years, cloud-based EDI solutions have gained popularity. These solutions offer scalability, flexibility, and easier integration with existing systems, allowing businesses to leverage the benefits of EDI without the need for significant infrastructure investments. Additionally, the rise of application programming interfaces (APIs) has enabled real-time, seamless integration between business systems and EDI platforms, further enhancing data exchange capabilities.
EDI Integration - Step by Step Process
So what do you need to get started? First of all, lay out your process for handling documents from one side of the chain to the next. What is the process? Does it require a great amount of manual intervention? Think of how many places in the process where a human agent is necessary to move the process to the next stage.
Step 1: How much variation exists between documents
Think about how much variation exists between documents. Consider that with an EDI solution, there should be seamless migration from one system to another. The less human intervention required, the better the system will perform.
Step2: identify your internal network
Next, identify your internal network. What are you currently using to move your processes forward? How would you benefit from having an EDI solution in place? What would it replace? Have you considered the time and energy considerations for implementing an EDI solution?
Step3: Plan out your workflow
Once your documents have been brought to a certain level, how are they to be passed to the next stage?
Once you have identified these steps, you will be that much more prepared to integrate an EDI solution to manage a lot of the legwork currently going into your document tracking and submitting process.
Step4: Type of infrastructure you need
What type of infrastructure do you need to have in place? The great thing about modern EDI solutions (Commport offers several solutions, including EDI software solutions like CyberLiNK) you do not have to have more than an Internet connection and the proper software installed to make use of the many advantages of EDI.
The nature of Commport’s solutions is to apply optimum security right out of the gate, so you don’t even have to think about it.
Know Your Goals With EDI
The main thing to consider is that you identify the goal and purpose for integrating the EDI solution. Once you have that, integrating the physical system is made easy with Commport’s Integrated EDI solutions.
So really, all you need to ensure you are prepared for EDI is a requirement to save time and money in your document creating, compiling and submitting process.
Consider also that Commport has EDI Outsourcing solutions in place for you, so there’s no hassle involved in making Commport part of your document handling and processing solution. Contact us for more information today!
Implementing EDI can revolutionize your business processes by enabling seamless data exchange and enhanced collaboration with your trading partners. By following these step-by-step guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to getting started with EDI. Remember, selecting the right EDI provider, understanding your business requirements, mapping data structures, and thorough testing are crucial elements for a successful EDI implementation.
Embrace the power of EDI and experience the efficiency and benefits it brings to your organization’s data exchange processes.