Switching EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) providers is an unnerving prospect. Change, particularly when it impacts processes deeply embedded within your organisation (and any associated relational repercussions with key customers) can feel overwhelming and often gets put off because it simply seems too complex to initiate. But changing providers doesn’t have to be difficult or daunting.
This article offers a quick peek into the EDI migration process. What are some common reasons that organisations look for a change? What does the migration process look like? How does Crossfire turn a simple migration process into an opportunity to leverage wider automation opportunities, helping organisations reach their more ambitious goals around scalability and flexibility along the way.
There are many reasons why a company might decide to move on from their current EDI providers, but we have typically found that most organisations are looking for an EDI solution that provides:
- An automated and seamless data exchange that provides a more robust and reliable solution
- Improved service (both on the implementation and support side)
- Increased connectivity capabilities (e.g. the ability to connect directly to partner ERP systems)
- An integration that is not operationally disruptive
- Value for money (with a price model that fits in with their organisational direction)
- Provide and integrate with new technology (e.g. using APIs over traditional EDI)
How should I start?
Before transitioning to a new provider it’s crucial to understand exactly what your current EDI situation is lacking. These existing shortcomings can be used to form the building blocks for your new EDI solution. A smooth and meaningful EDI transition is as much dependent upon understanding your current needs as it is anticipating how you want things to look like in the future.
Crossfire works with you to understand both your internal situation as well as how you can most efficiently integrate with your partner’s systems. Our integration capabilities include API services which can, where appropriate, augment existing EDI systems to modernise your entire data exchange.
In any case, we believe that an automated, seamless data integration is a crucial ingredient in the success of any organisation.
Crossfire are EDI specialists who understand that simply providing a functional technical solution is only the beginning. We examine your current situation, work with you to articulate your current needs and dig deeper to anticipate the long-term needs of your organisation moving forward.
First, we identify the various data types you currently utilise and map out how this data is exchanged. In most instances, your current integrations and formats are ones we’ve already worked with, in which case the migration is generally pretty straightforward.
The requirements analysis may include
- Defining the standards (e.g. XML, JSON, EDIFACT, etc)
- Agreeing on the communication protocols (e.g. API, SFTP, etc)
- Defining the business rules around when and how data is processed and interpreted
- Defining the business continuity process if something fails
- Identifying any translation that needs to be performed
The requirements analysis can typically be completed in 1-2 weeks.
The most effective way to avoid disruption to existing transaction flows during the transition process is to implement in planned stages. Using the information discovered during the requirements gathering phase as a starting point, we create an implementation plan that a) establishes 100% system compatibility to ensure there is no disruption to any internal systems or external trading parties, and; b) is scheduled to align and coincide with any ongoing operational processes.
Prior to implementation, we perform detailed testing of all migrated data exchanges to validate that the new solution will work as designed.
Once this migration plan is executed (including internal and UAT testing to provide assurance around interchange formats, connectivity pathways and rules), a full cutover transition from the previous system can be initiated. After transitioning to Crossfire we provide ongoing and comprehensive support to confirm the EDI solution is helping you make the efficiency gains that were originally identified.
The duration of the technical implementation can vary based on organisational needs, but we believe the most critical transition factor is to implement the new solution in a way that allows you to continue operations without any interruption or delays.
EDI that makes a difference
Crossfire’s end to end EDI managed service allows you to outsource the complexity of EDI integration so you can concentrate on your core business. We manage every aspect of the data interchange; from implementation to support, ensuring you optimise the transfer of data, information and files between you and your partners.Learn more about our EDI Services