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Choosing your EDI provider, a strategic opportunity

Choosing your EDI provider, a strategic opportunity
13/11/2020

Improving the efficiency of your management system, optimizing your business processes, reducing costs ... So many expected benefits await enterprises with the deployment of EDI. Benefits, that is, that depend on what solution they choose.

And which impacts the image portrayed to your business partners and to all your users. Thus, security and reliability must be at the heart of all future EDI solutions.

Overall, the installation and maintenance of an EDI platform requires a high level of expertise that should not be entrusted to novices.

Especially, since these kinds of systems are is often implemented at the start of a long-term commitment.

1. Analyze and understand your EDI needs

Cost alone is not reason enough to select your future provider.

You must carefully define your requirements for your current and future EDI system, and the added value it will bring your business.

To do so, it is important to ask yourself a number of questions:

  • What kind of implementation do you envision?
  • What services do you expect from the EDI platform?
  • Will you implement paperless taxation and invoices?
  • How many EDI streams do you need?
  • Does your core business require “real-time” and 24/7 response?
  • What types of dashboards and visibility will your users require?

Then, all that remains is to select EDI providers that meet your expectations point by point.

To make a first selection based on your business and the services it offers, GS1 France provides a list of EDI solution providers on its website.

2. Choose your EDI provider

Adequate solution and quality of service

At this stage, it is important to find the solution that is easily integrated with your computer system or ERP, and one that covers all of your needs.

Whether you opt for an outsourced solution in Software as a service (Saas) mode, a software solution, or a Web EDI, you will need to choose a multi-standard solution and multi-protocol communication to be able to communicate with all your current partners.

If your company operates in several countries, your selected EDI solution must be able to operate internationally and in accordance with the technical and legal constraints of the countries concerned, especially for electronic invoices.

You will also need to look at the strength and sustainability of the EDI supplier:

  • Are they familiar with your industry and do they have several references for this?
  • Are they certified?
  • Has the supplier proven themselves in the field?
  • Does working with them guarantee your legal obligations in the context of paperless invoices, especially at the level of archiving?
  • Are previous customers who use its solutions and services satisfied?

TIP: Make sure that the EDI provider will provide you with all the resources you need to build your EDI system as you expect it and on time.

Good technical skills

An EDI platform that works without error is a real joy and added value for your information systems.

But a dysfunctional EDI platform can seriously affect your productivity and your relationships with your business partners.

Hence the importance of choosing an EDI provider whose infrastructure and technical knowledge are serious and guaranteed to meet correct SLA standards.

The Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a contractual document committing the provider to ensure a certain level of service and the availability of its platforms. This article provides more information about SLA .

Reliable support or technical service

Once you’ve deployed your first EDI feeds, the support team will be your main point of contact.

Monitoring, error management, reliability of responses, correction of recurring errors, responsiveness ... these are things to be aware of before you commit.

TIP: Check to see if support is available in your users’ languages and if their available time slots cover your needs.

Being ergonomic and accessible at all times, will allow your users to be able to autonomously view their documents.

EDI service Pricing

The volume of data exchanged often defines the price. There may also be costs associated with the use of a particular communication network (ENX, OFTP). Some providers may offer flat-rate subscriptions.

TIP: Compare the different offers and consider the future development of your EDI communications. This will give you the most advantageous pricing.

A long-term view of your EDI

Nothing is fixed in an EDI system. You will receive progressive requests from your partners. You’ll also want to bring someone in to optimize your streams.

As your business grows you’ll deploy new messages or connect to new partners.

Therefore, your EDI service provider must be able to respond to these requests for change. In addition, it must offer the latest technologies and complete interoperability at all times. This will help meet future demands.

In summary, setting up EDI promises a lot of benefits for your business. Nevertheless, the chosen solution offers a quality service in which the role of the EDI provider is crucial.

It’s time to make the right choice!

For more than 30 years, Tenor has been supporting companies in the industrial, automotive, and retail sectors in their EDI and EDI supplier rollouts. If you are interested in this topic, check out this article about vendor support or contact us to discuss the options for your EDI project.

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