EDI has changed tremendously over recent years. Traditionally, VAN systems would be used, but the 21st century way is to use web based EDI instead. Thanks to this development, EDI is now something that even smaller trading partners can access, who see the costs of using a fit for purpose IT infrastructure greatly reduced, ensuring that they, too, can access EDI in an affordable manner.
Essentially, web based EDI has provided the EDI industry with a very sudden and very much needed boost. Suddenly, cumbersome, traditional technologies have become obsolete. The result of this is that there has been a huge wave in adoption of EDI processes and services, based on the model of Software as a Service (SaaS). In essence, it now provides a fantastic solution for small businesses that do not have the funds to invest in expensive IT infrastructure or in EDI training, putting them on par with huge stores, including Wal-Mart.
The Benefits of Web Based EDI
There are numerous benefits to using web based EDI, including:
- A reduction in time and cost to be ready for EDI.
- Less need for IT resources and infrastructure.
- Lower fees for individual transactions.
- Better operational efficiency through systems integration.
For the vast majority of companies, EDI is something they use alongside other business functions. However, because many trading partners are so large, EDI is now a dictated necessity. This can be conflicting, because it means special resources and expertise is required. The implementation of all of this can be hugely expensive, not in the least because the software and hardware has to be maintained as well. This problem is resolved through web based EDI, ensuring those smaller companies for which EDI still isn’t a core requirement can take advantage of its benefits without the associated costs. Web based EDI tends to be on a subscription basis with no cost for initial implementation, meaning no licenses have to be purchased either. Being web based, it is also always completely up to date, without any added overhead costs.
Because it has so many fantastic benefits and so few overhead costs, using web based EDI as a software as a service is now becoming increasingly popular. Indeed, many smaller businesses are moving away from all other forms of data integration, choosing EDI instead. This has led to a true sea of change in which small businesses can suddenly compete with some of the world’s largest players. No longer does EDI cost thousands of dollars. Rather, it is the perfect architecture that is accessible to anyone, from one man operations to Fortune 500 companies. The effect this has had on competition, particularly in the retail industry, is nothing short of mesmerizing.
The internet has provided people with a world of opportunities. This is changing the face of commerce as a whole, as competition is no longer unfairly advantaged to those with the unlimited budgets. It has, in effect, leveled the playing field. The inevitable result of this is also that consumers can benefit because the focus is once again on increasing their levels of satisfaction.