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  • September 8, 2020

API vs EDI, Part 3: Which One?

Here, we finally answer the important question about API and EDI: Which one should you pick for your business?

Welcome to part three of our blog series on API vs EDI technology. In part one, we provided an overview of both electronic communication methods. In part two, we listed the key pros and cons of each. Now in part 3 we answer the important question: Which one should you pick for your business?

The big secret: It likely won't be either/or. Many companies find they need both API and EDI to manage all their business processes effectively.

Look to your partners

Often times, your business partners will make the decision for you. They have the largest impact on data exchange requirements. Their capabilities or lack thereof can limit the possibilities, and some industries have
established practices or exchange networks that require adherence as well. However, if you have the choice it is useful to know what to consider.

By examining you internal system integration requirements and the opportunities within your partner ecosystem (including integrations you may not be currently benefiting from), you can determine the best solutions and technology for that ecosystem. For example, financial industries that exchange a lot of sensitive data will require more robust security, governance, and compliance layers than other industries.


Synergy is possible

When it comes to connecting systems, it is not a question of choosing between EDI and APIs. The two can work together and even perform different, complementary roles. API integration may augment EDI initiatives and help deliver more comprehensive B2B integrations within your digital ecosystem.

For instance, APIs can be used to check inventory or pricing in your e-commerce system. And then if, after checking the price and availability of an item, your customer decides to place an order, EDI can initiate the dropship order fulfillment
workflow. The two processes may be equally crucial and work in harmony with each other. It's no wonder that today's businesses are more reliant on EDI and API technologies.


When EDI is best

Exchanging common business documents is a great use-case for EDI. Organizations often connect their internal systems with customers, vendors, suppliers, warehouses, banks, and other organizations for exchanging purchase orders, invoices, payments, ship notices, and other valuable data. Adding a trading partner relationship involves configuring their EDI profile and building the appropriate maps for sending, transforming, and receiving data. Since each trading partner will have different specifics, using flexible and robust solutions that provide full visibility is critical to accommodating all partner scenarios and nuances.


In the end, flexibility is always key

A good integration platform should integrate with both on-premise and cloud applications, allowing individual lines of business operations to execute end-to-end data processing. Acquisitions and other situations could throw a wrinkle into your strategy, so flexible architecture should be a factor.

The ability to handle different scenarios is often critical to a B2B project’s success and how you configure your platform will be based on your unique situation. What is the best way to connect business stakeholders, SaaS applications
and on-premise solutions? Your competitors are likely asking the same questions.  

If you can quickly adapt to each opportunity and challenge, whether you are working with EDI, API or both – you will separate yourself from the pack, lower your operating expenses and likely earn new business.


Thank you for reading our blog series on API vs. EDI. If you want all this information in one place, download our white paper on the subject, where we expand on many of the points mentioned in these posts.

Read the White Paper

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