October 28th, 2020
There are many things to consider when it comes to ERP and EDI integration, especially if you’re looking to replace one or both systems. Although we can’t promise you that either endeavor is an easy one, we can tell you what you should be wary of when deciding on the best option(s) for your organization.
What is ERP & EDI Integration?
Let’s start with the basics. Your ERP system, regardless of provider (SAP, Sage, NAV, etc.), is your organization’s core system. When you want to exchange documents electronically with your trading partners by means of EDI, this is something that’s typically outside the realm of what your ERP system can do on its own. In other words, you have to find an EDI solutions provider that fits your organization’s needs. Certainly, the most important of these needs is that the EDI solutions provider is able to integrate with your ERP system.
ERP system integration with an EDI solution enables seamless communication between both systems. That means that everyone within your organization can continue to work within the ERP environment but can also access all relevant information surrounding EDI exchanges. If everything is functioning properly, the EDI solution should be invisible; responsible team members (e.g. accounts payable) should only have to access the EDI environment in exceptional circumstances.
The Lesser of Two Evils
Unless you’re one signature away from finalizing a deal with an ERP provider, you’ll likely be told that you should put EDI first. That’s because, according to industry analysts, 50% of ERP implementations fail the first time around. In most cases, this failure results from underestimating the time and resources that go into not only switching over the system, but training staff once the new ERP system has been properly implemented.
Point is, even if you’re planning to switch ERP providers within the next few years, it’s not something to just dive into without assessing the pros and cons, or even the potential consequences for your organization. Though, admittedly, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to replace an EDI solution, there’s no debate as to whether or not it’s easier than replacing an ERP system (hint: it is).
The Main Reason to Switch EDI Providers
As mentioned above, the most important thing to consider when it comes to ERP and EDI integration is that your EDI provider gives you the option for ERP integration not only with your existing ERP, but with all ERPs.
Unfortunately, at some point in time, many organizations run into the problem that their EDI solution is no longer able to support their needs. In most cases, this is because the EDI solution is unable to grow with the company it’s supporting. This most often leads back to digital transformation initiatives that require these organizations to replace legacy systems, like ERPs, so that their businesses can continue to expand. If it isn’t possible to integrate the new ERP with the existing EDI environment, or if it’s just too much of a hassle, there’s no choice but to choose a new EDI solutions provider.
Prepare for Growth
To avoid putting your organization at a disadvantage, steer clear of choosing an EDI solutions provider that will be limiting to you now or in the future. For starters, make sure your EDI provider is perfectly capable of integration with any and all ERPs and that the company itself is on a steady growth path in terms of expanding their service and integration offerings.
In doing this, you might just prevent your organization from being in a compromised position, for example, receiving minimal support for your existing and/or future ERP system. To prepare for growth, choose an EDI provider that’s sure to support you every step of the way, no matter which direction you choose to go—ERP wise or other.