Most sensible 5 Inquiries to Ask When Comparing an EDI Answer
Companies thinking of purchasing an EDI solution should go through a proper due diligence in evaluating an EDI vendor. I have come up with some of the key questions that must be answered and have listed them here:
1.How quickly can your team learn to use this product?
As a growing company you would need your team to access and use the EDI solution quickly without having to go through an extensive training sessions with your software vendor. Ease of use is important when you want your business users to onboard new trading partners and don’t have the patience to wait for the slow-moving IT to respond to those needs. Product should be browser based so that it provides easy access to the application and it should have an intuitive navigation and configuration interface that allows any user to start using the solution quickly.
2.What is the process for adding a new Trading Partner?
This is one of the most important factors in judging how the EDI solution offered by a vendor is going to handle the on-boarding of new partners into your B2b network. As part of this function one has to also understand how your trading partners would send or receive EDI files, the SLAs around missing transactions and the notification process in case of errors.
3.What is the process of making a map change such as creating a new map, editing an existing map or migrating a map to another version (example: 5010 to 6020)?
I have seen that companies that purchase an EDI solution often ignore the long-term cost of having onsite consultants involved in implementing EDI maps and quite often they are the only ones in your company who understand how to use that product. Mapping shouldn’t require programmers; it should be doable by your business team with their existing skill-sets.
4. Does it have the flexibility to handle integrations beyond EDI?
Some of the key points to look into are:
- Companies nowadays connect not only using EDI but also with APIs, XML, Web Services, Cloud apps etc. and you want the EDI integration solution to support these features.
- Most real-life, mission critical situations require complex features such as error handling, human workflow to make decisions etc.
- Handle both file-based batch mode type of integrations but also real-time transactional integrations in same product.
5.What are the report generation and management capabilities around creating adhoc reports and dashboards and how are they managed?
For example, your team would need an ability to track the number of EDI transactions sent by a particular trading partner, or would want to know the total amount of Claims sent by a healthcare provider. Having an ability to let your team be able to create these reports and have an ability to manage them is critical for a long-term successful relationship with your business partners.
There are additional factors involved that shouldn’t be overlooked such as making sure that the solution architecture supports high-availability and disaster recovery. It should also support various data formats such as flat files and connections to cloud-based SaaS applications and on-premise databases.