MSP TODAY NEWS

Managed EDI the Best Way to Interchange

By Doug Barney

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has been around for decades. It offered great integration, but could be a bear to manage, operate and set up. Managed EDI solves many of these problems, and vendor Data Interchange (now here’s a name that matches what the company does) has five reasons why this approach is so hot.

Let’s not beat around the bush and hear what the company had to say:

  •     “Lower operating and software investment costs
  •     Increased levels of service and uptime
  •     Reduced risks and improved predictability
  •     Redeployment of internal business resources
  •     Increased levels of customer satisfaction”

One main issue is the sheer complexity of EDI and what it is charged with doing – which is to integrate systems from partners that were never designed to be compatible. But an MSP dedicated to this cause has long ago figured many of these issues out. And because of their economies of scale, they ought to be able to do EDI cheaper than the customer can themselves. Meanwhile the service provider should be able have better uptime and scalability.

And often these managed EDI services can be accompanied by other integration services. This range can also be the province of MSPs.

“We find that companies are looking to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Having third party management of EDI can not only help achieve that but also offer improved cover and flexibility,” said Ewan Friend, managing director of Data Interchange.

IDC backs these EDI proclamations in the “EDI Managed Services” report penned by program director Maureen Fleming. According to Fleming, EDI customers should choose partners that have experience in their specific vertical or industry, have compelling pricing, and a broad enough reach to encompass all your partners.

Managed Integration Services Worth their Weight

Stanford University looked at managed integration services in a report paid for GXS, B2B integration services provider.

The 39-page report from Stanford’s Global Supply Chain Management Forum “B2B Managed Services, Business Value and Adoption Trends” found a huge positive correlation between MSP services and integration. In fact, 96 percent of those polled said their B2B integration programs were made more valuable thanks to MSPs. The survey has semi-global reach, being based on responses from some 100 North American, Asian and European users.

The report lays out a significant disconnect between partners. “Today’s corporations are more dependent upon their business partners than ever. Yet despite the critical co-dependencies, the interactions between companies and their business partners remains highly inefficient. Over 50 percent of the information exchanged between business partners travels over fax, email and phone rather than flowing directly between business applications via B2B integration technologies such as EDI and XML. The relatively low adoption rate for B2B is amazing when you consider that the first EDI systems were introduced four decades ago an eternity in the technology sector,” the report said.

The good news is that MSPs ease the migration to more automated, efficient and rich communications amongst partners.

And MSPs can also reduce the cost of these communications, the report found. Almost three quarters of those surveyed saw a cost benefit from switching from on-premises B2B integration which requires significant capital expense, to Managed Services which consist mainly of ongoing operating expenses.

The benefits of B2B integration are driving more use. While 96 percent said MSPs benefit their B2B communications, an identical 96 percent will increase its use, trading with more customers and partners electronically

The report can be found here.




Edited by Ryan Sartor

MSPToday Editor at Large

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