By Foundational on
Last month at TUG Connects, a conference for users of various Infor systems including FACTS, A+ and SX.e, I conducted a session about the various stages of EDI implementations. I thought this was a compelling topic of discussion because e-business offers various benefits (efficient processing, error reduction, faster receipt of invoices, etc.) but many companies begin an implementation simply to comply with the requirements of their customers and too few advance to where they’re enjoying real benefits and improving their organizational processes. In fact, over the years I’ve dealt with a handful of customers that pursued EDI with little intention of actually going live. One even told me that all he wanted me to do was call his customer and tell them that “we’re working on it”. Actually getting it done and going live was hardly a priority.
Naturally, the organizations that enjoy real gains from e-business are those that look internally to see how the process can help them, and explore ways to do more with it than simply provide their customers with an electronic file – or worse yet, perform mundane data entry tasks for their customers! This can be challenge given the fact that EDI is somewhat of a niche technology, and too few really understand how to make the most of it. Helping organizations transition from seeking “compliance” to seeking real benefits has been my mission for much of my career.
I separate the three types, or stages, of an EDI implementation into the following:
- Initial Stage – basically just satisfying the requirements of a few trading partners
- Limited Use – multiple trading partners, enjoying some benefits, but not sure how to make the most of EDI
- Extensive Use – EDI with anyone that’s willing. The proverbial “hub” company
Over the next couple of days I’ll post more details on the three stages of EDI implementations, and offer insight to the options you have for making the most of EDI while you’re in that stage as well as how to progress to the next level and gain additional benefits.
As always, comments are welcome…stay tuned for part 1.