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Supply Chain

What it really means to “do EDI”

While EDI has been around for decades, there is some confusion as to what “doing EDI” is all about. Here’s a look at what it really means in today’s hyper-digital world and how it can generate revenue for your company.


What is EDI?

EDI stands for electronic data interchange, a digital solution for the exchange of business documents—such as purchase orders, invoices, and payment notifications—between companies. It replaces traditional means of communication like fax, mail, and email, providing a more direct method for sharing documents using a standard format.

Why is this important?

In today’s global digital ecosystem, companies need to manage large volumes of transactions throughout the supply chain. EDI lets them improve efficiency, reduce costs, be more responsive to customers, and generate more revenue by streamlining day-to-day business processes, employing a standard business language that speeds up partner onboarding, reducing manual data entry and its associated errors, accelerating business cycles through process automation and efficiency, and securing shared data by complying with international security standards.

EDI in the modern digital business ecosystem

EDI, and the business ecosystem in which it operates, have changed and developed over the years. Today, EDI is much more than exchanging and transforming data, communicating with partners, and processing orders. It’s also securing and governing data flows and integrating that data into your wider IT infrastructure for better overall control. It’s understanding and managing your partner relationships to deliver improved customer service and better meet service-level agreements. It’s monitoring and improving each step of the process.

“Doing EDI” today involves a set of governance, management, visibility, and onboarding processes and is part of a larger B2B integration strategy that supports high-value business outcomes. B2B integration is more than the EDI processes themselves. It’s the sum of all the EDI workflows, onboarding, orchestration, trading partner management, and other supporting capabilities.

Why not replace EDI?

While new data exchange innovations are being developed every day, EDI continues to stand the test of time. Some believe that application programming interfaces (APIs), developed to support system connectivity and program interaction in our cloud-based era, could be used to replace EDI. However, they simply don’t have the broader scope, standardization, scaleability, security, compatibility, reusability, and legacy support of EDI. And, as mentioned above, EDI in its modern form is so much more than just a tool for exchanging documents between companies.

EDI into the future

EDI continues to develop and adapt with the times, generating data that, if harnessed, can provide companies with valuable insights. For instance, it can tell you who your most important partners are, how much and what type of business they conduct, how happy they are with your company, and when they’re displeased with you.

As ways of “doing EDI” change, so do the ways of deploying it. Vendors who understand the full scope of the technology also support a variety of deployment options: EDI in the cloud, so companies can manage their EDI processes from anywhere in the world; managed EDI, to keep the complexity, costs, and strain on in-house IT staff to a minimum; and fully outsourced EDI, to remove the burden of EDI from companies.

Learn how EDI can have present and future benefits for your business

Contact InterTrade today to find out how an EDI solution can help your business generate more revenue today and tomorrow.







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