Electronic Data Interchange, generally known as EDI, is the current favorite topic. But what is EDI, and what is the future of EDI? To answer your question, we need to understand the various factors it depends on, including technologies and the underlying business data processes. Majorly it depends on how it is utilized. EDI is majorly used to send, receive, and record orders, delivery notes, and invoices. In today’s world, it is impossible to run a supply chain without EDI. Companies in these industries have refined and optimized processes that would work with EDI support and solutions without getting inconvenient. For instance, the car industry applies just in time and just in sequence logistics. Now, there are technologies available to rival classic EDI. It’s time to rethink.
Cloud- Major Trend
Infrastructure as a Services or IAAS is the first wave in Infrastructure clouds. Azure, Alibaba, Google Cloud & AWS are some examples. In the second cloud wave, software vendors started shifting their applications to the cloud, such as SalesForce, and later, such as SAP with S/4HANA. Companies are popularly using cloud applications as they provide the best tools to monitor and tailor specific tasks. Earlier companies were worried about lack of security, and lack of control on data were significant concerns. Now, they recognize that the cloud provides utmost security and the system is safe to use. Cloud providers give a guarantee of a high level of security and data control. So, in other words, the cloud is the future.
The first cloud integration was immediately followed by infrastructure and vendor clouds because those systems needed another integration as they still run on the premises. So, the question was, why not move integration to the cloud, too? You must have come across the terms such as Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) or Middleware as a Service. These cloud integrations are modern web APIs. This revolves around vendor clouds and the client’s premises’ inventories. Web-based APIs are bridging the gaps between the various domains.
Taking this further, companies will be running a few systems on-premises, and major of their applications are cloud-based. An application running on a vendor cloud is based on SaaS, Soon enough classic EDI systems will disappear, and efficiency, synergy, and security-based will push companies into integration clouds.
The Future Of EDI
As we mentioned, APIs are on the rise for the exchange of data across various fields. Despite multiple disadvantages, APIs have a good advantage over the classic file-based data exchange via EDI. It does not just enable you to transfer data quickly; the sender also gets immediate feedback on whether the message has been successfully delivered or not and what is the processing status. This is possible through EDI as the technology is specially designed for asynchronous mass data transmission and high throughput.
Unfortunately, these slowdowns the processing time of other individual transactions, making it difficult to get immediate feedback than API.
Eventually, technical changes will evolve how things are done—for instance, the shift in accountability for transferring error-free data. As the process gets monotonous at times, the actual content of the EDI file isn’t checked until the receiver has received it. This means the file is not checked until it reaches its destination. Hence, it cannot be error-proofed and cannot be processed accurately with EDI.
Where APIs are error-checked while being processed, the sender is responsible for transferring the correct data, which is error-free. Sometimes even the sender does not have accurate information, which makes the API process a little complex. At such times both parties need to agree on a single strategy so that the entire process doesn’t lose its efficiency.
EDIs and APIs Together
One of the greatest advantages of APIs is that they can be easily linked with other systems deeply and directly. An API gateway ensures the connection is completely secure. Though APIs can be linked, they have limited suitability with EDIs. Business partners will not have similar API interfaces, requiring a higher workload and programming and maintenance. Probably 3-5 times higher than EDIs. Additionally, only a few of the applications will give API interfaces or maybe just specific ones.
The biggest advantage of EDI is its standardized B2B connections, and it enables sharing documents with several partners involved in the business without having to inspect which interfaces are available. EDI connections are easy to set-up, via readily available mappings and partners already on board.
Modern APIs do have a place in a classic EDI environment. They help to improve specific processes and applications. For instance, API can stabilize the time-critical process and can support other systems. API could also call up the progress of an EDI file, which EDI does not provide.
As you can understand from above, it is nearly impossible to compare both the interfaces, making it unlikely that API will replace classic EDI. Instead, both technologies coexist to support and provide central interfaces for monitoring, self-service, configuration, and support.
The Future of EDI: Amalgamation of EDI and API
Many organizations have already started using API-based technology for B2B processes. Such companies include Tesla, Truck North America, Daimler, and others. Shortly, companies will want API-based connections with SOAP, JSON, or other services as well as the classic B2B connections via ANSI X21, VDA, or messaging through AS2or VAN.
Organizations already have various interfaces and applications existing in the system which need to be connected. EDI/B2B integration is the technology that is usually good at integrating internal systems.
On the bright side, the integration system supports both EDI and API integration as it can be used in various conditions. Companies are optimizing their existing integration approaches, keeping in mind the synergies between EDI and API. Some of the examples are;
Adding APIs to EDI set-up: Companies are linking API to EDI to avoid common EDI transaction errors.
Using APIs to improve quality: Adding APIs to your EDI setup enhances passing transactions and information efficiency and effectiveness.
There is a growing importance of API-based integration in the corporate world. In contrast to EDI, which has been around for decades and is one of the classic technologies, APIs are growing in the modern world and are still young. Yet, there is a lack of defined standards.
Hence, it is crucial to always be on track with the APIs in your company and keep a check on who uses them and how. API has become an integral part of the organization; therefore, you need to ensure that EDI and API are well integrated and connected.
Growing Value of Running Integration Platform Cloud
Operating EDI and API integration altogether is complicated. There is a vast range and ways to combine and connect both interfaces. And it is crucial for the business as if it doesn’t operate well; your business doesn’t either. Many organizations are appreciating and opting for a cloud-based integration approach. It reveals that- tedious tasks such as operating the data center infrastructure, the operating system, the database, the communication, or performing releases upgrade. With the integration systems, companies can save a lot on the cost of monitoring, security, and troubleshooting. And all this also saves time for the more important things, right from the beginning.
Companies enjoying the benefits from integration services providers, alongside the already mentioned benefits, have extensive experience. Their expertise allows them to provide standardized processes and pre-configured content to shift and get the new integration platform working faster quickly.
HubBroker, with its years of industrial experience, provides such integration services. We offer our EDI services with the best features, classic service levels, and easy access to our vast repository of standard mappings. We have a ready-to-implement mapping strategy that converts partners’ EDI formats into a standardized XML-based meta interface structure with our mapping strategy. Now, partner connections and ERP connections can be managed independently and easily integrated into the services.
We offer a varied range and direct connections to hundreds of trading partners via a structured channel. Our ready-made mapping and connectors save time and reduce operating costs, and set up an integration platform. Connect with us today to know more about our EDI & API solutions that can provide you the flexibility and agility to respond to your dynamic business needs.