Buy vs. Build
Which strategy is better for your business?
Microsoft Dynamics customers have many options when it comes to EDI or XML integration solutions. However, building or purchasing custom code executed within Dynamics for EDI should be carefully evaluated against a commercial EDI package solution that can offer all of the common integration touch points that EDI users need. One-off custom integration and “embedded” Dynamics solutions can hold many pitfalls, beginning with unanticipated costs and ongoing support challenges:
Risks associated with the "build" strategy
- Ongoing costs. Once an EDI/XML document exchange and integration solution is built, the work has just begun. New initiatives such as additional EDI document sets and trading partner additions can trigger unwanted surprises and significant expenses for the developer and the Dynamics user.
- Unexpected code changes. Inevitable EDI compliance changes can force untimely code changes in your Dynamics environment. These can be inconvenient or impossible to implement in the allotted timeframe.
- Forced upgrades of retrofitting. Embedded solution providers can require undesirable Dynamics version updates or custom code retrofitting to older versions. The results are expensive “one-off” coding and risk to your production ERP system.
- Ongoing data mapping. As new and existing partners introduce more documents, more data elements must be added and “mapped” to the translator. More customization means greater delays in setting up new partners and a higher cost for upgrading to new versions.
- EDI compliance.. Toolset solutions place the EDI compliance and functionality burden squarely on the Dynamics ERP user.
- Unclear support. Meshing EDI tools such as translators together with custom code frequently blurs the lines of support responsibility. This can create confusion at crucial times.
Questions to ask yourself and your EDI partner
EDI issues can have a high level of urgency and a limited time window for resolution. Any EDI user should select an option where the organization is thoroughly committed to the Dynamics product line and EDI in general.
- Did you see a complete demonstration of the entire EDI integration process? Was the setup process clearly explained?
- Is new code introduced into your Dynamics environment? If so, what is the cost of maintaining and upgrading that code to later versions?
- Who is responsible for ongoing compliance and responding to new partner initiatives?
- What are the costs of setting up a new EDI partner? What is the typical timeframe?
- Who supports the EDI application? Who supports the Dynamics integration?
- What are the costs of translation and transmission of data to and from your partners? Are the costs fixed (predictable) or variable (unknown)?
- What is the upgrade process and the cost for new versions of Dynamics?
- How long has the partner supported Dynamics and how many customers currently use the solution?
- If you are doing all the work, how valuable is your time? Is this included in the total cost of ownership calculation?
- Download our complimentary EDI vendor checklist here.