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"EDI is HOT. No, Really!" Post Gets the Wheels Turning on the State of EDI

While researching ideas for future blog posts I came across the recent post titled, EDI is HOT. No, really!” by Benoit Lheureux of the Gartner Group. With a title like that, it definitely got my attention. I did a double-take before I was able to continue reading his post, but even then I was shocked to come across additional words such as “sexy.” Now, I’m in the trenches when it comes to EDI integration for Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP & NAV but “hot” or “sexy” are not the first words that come to mind when I think of EDI, but instead words more like “necessity” and “dictated.”

Whether or not you find EDI “hot” or “sexy" as Benoit’s post describes, let’s at least talk about some of the various EDI subject lines that he mentions:

EDI Standards

ANSI ASC X12 (X12) is predominant in North America.
UN/EDIFACT is the only international standard and is predominant outside of North America.
TRADACOMS standard developed by the ANA (Article Numbering Association) is predominant in the UK retail industry.
ODETTE or VDA standard used within the Automotive Industry.
VICS standard is used by the general merchandise retail industry across North America.

Help with EDI Translator Upgrade

From a Microsoft Dynamics ISV who just specializes in EDI this is where “apples to apples” becomes “apples to bananas” as not all EDI ISV’s are the same with regards to how they handle translator software. Now some ISV/EDI vendors will have an OEM agreement or reseller agreement to sell another translator software solution, so that leads to a question you should always ask when evaluating is who owns/builds the translating and then of course ask them who do you turn for support when needed. And then you have our solution, Vantage Point EDI, where the translator is 100% our product and is part of a complete turn-key solution. So when choosing to upgrade, consider who you’ll turn to for help as you may have to deal with different vendors to resolve your EDI issue.

SaaS Model

SaaS (software as a service) and hosted EDI solutions have generated a lot of buzz in recent years. These solutions have several advantages over traditional on-premise “tool-based” solutions such as Sterling Gentran®, Inovis TrustedLink® and Microsoft Biztalk®. On-premise “managed compliance providers” make up a third category of EDI solution providers. Examination of the relative advantages and disadvantages of these solutions can help you make the right decision for your business. Click to read more..

One other area I want to address is that of EDI being a relatively old technology which has been around for over 30 years. But as technology has changed the landscape of IT, for example the Internet, EDI continues to evolve and remains one of the most efficient tools in transferring documents between companies. I believe that EDI will be around for a long time to come and it will continue to adapt to the markets as companies try to automate and improve processes.

You’ll have to decide for yourself if these topics are “hot” or “sexy”, but EDI is here to stay and will continue to evolve as companies look to streamline their business processes and be more efficient.

See you in a couple of days in Atlanta, GA for Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011. I’ll be at Data Masons’ booth (#1121) – hope to meet you there!

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