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Extended EDI iPaaS or EDI managed services - you choose, we deliver

Optimize your business performance, save time and money and open the door to new possibilities by fully automating your day-to-day operations. Find out how a digital transformation can help you really stand out in the market and learn all about the tools available to achieve this.

Date 06/04/2022

Author Omnizon

In today’s digitalized world, businesses are challenged to meet high standards and adapt to increasingly competitive and changing markets. Customers expect a quick, safe and reliable service that is simple to use and offers easy access to everything they want in one place.

The first step to establishing a fast and effective workflow, improving communication, increasing your productivity, and ultimately, building a long-lasting business relationship with your trusted clients, is through automating as much of your everyday operations as possible.

There are two basic forms of digitally automating and managing your business processes – either EDI managed services or alternatively, EDI integration platform as a service (iPaaS). Each represents a coherent system designed for streamlining your business operations, and the decision to choose one over the other will depend on several factors.

Let’s take a look at some of those factors you will need to consider in order to help you make a choice best suited for your company.

 

What are Extended EDI managed services?

If you are not familiar with the term Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), it is essentially a means of replacing traditional paperwork with modern, digital solutions.

The faster, more accurately and more securely you can centralize business communications, the better-organized you will be, allowing you to focus more time on your core business and less time on manual administrative processes. This, in turn, will help make you even more competitive and attractive to your partners who expect fast and efficient engagement.

Some common examples of EDI managed services include automated purchase orders, invoices, shipping statuses, customs information, inventory documents and payment confirmations. There is a way to make them even more efficient and productive for your business – by including additional functionalities in the form of Extended EDI.

Extended EDI managed services are a more comprehensive version of conventional EDI services, offering you additional features for a completely seamless, digitized workflow. These are essentially fully managed EDI services that provide 100% EDI integration, even for customers without EDI technologies. According to the 80:20 rule, 80% of digitalization of incoming/outgoing documentation is generated by document exchange with 20% of partners. This means that the remaining 20% of document exchange with the remaining 80% of partners is conventional, i.e. non-digital. Therefore, the main advantage of Extended EDI over conventional EDI managed services is that Extended EDI managed services enable digitalization with the remaining 80% of non-digitalized partners. And as a Managed Service, once you are set up, you leave the management of all these operations to an experienced Service Provider.

 

What is Extended EDI integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)?

You may be one of the many businesses that prefer to manage your own IT operations and you will probably be using multiple software and tools to manage and monitor various business functions. Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) enables you to blend different services and tools in one place, ensuring consolidated communication across disparate applications and eliminating the need to manually synchronize and update data stored within a heterogeneous environment. And less time spent switching between tools means more time for work and focus.

With the help of iPaaS, you can streamline your business processes by securely integrating all the different applications and systems that you are using. It is a one-stop shop that enables smooth communication, both internally and externally. You can create countless integrations between different software platforms, depending on your needs. The main advantage of Extended EDI integration Platform as a Service is that it offers virtually endless possibilities for independent in-house development.

Say your company relies on a particular software application to sell your products or services. With time, demands can and will change and you could find that your core software platform lacks important new functionality that you would need if you are to continue meeting the changing needs of your customers. With iPaas there is no need to write new software code within your existing platform – you can simply integrate the existing platform with any new application that provides the functionality that you need. This solution saves considerable amounts of time and money, and you can always customize it in accordance with future needs.

Extended EDI integration Platform as a Service gives your dedicated team full control and creative freedom to create the perfect custom-built solution for your business. This creates more room for development, but it also means more responsibility for your team.

 

Key areas where iPaaS differs from EDI managed services

Managed EDI services and iPaaS both deliver a highly beneficial digital upgrade to supercharge your business and meet customers’ needs and increasingly high expectations. They significantly accelerate all your operations, eliminate the possibility of human error and provide easy communication and synchronization not only with your partners but also within your organization, between crucial functions like marketing, sales, and service departments.

There are, however, some key differences between the two models, which are important to understand and which need to be taken into consideration when choosing the right solution for your business. We have outlined them in the table below.

Each of these factors can be understood either as an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your needs and strategic decisions.

 

Limited or no in-house IT resources vs. a dedicated IT team

iPaaS usually requires a dedicated team for managing and developing your processes and this brings with it many benefits. However, this may not be an option for organizations with little or no in-house capability. For those who cannot or for good, strategic reasons, do not wish to develop this in-house capability, EDI Managed Services offer a route to allow you to benefit massively from digitizing your business.

 

Outsourced systems management vs. in-house systems management

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) services are offloaded onto an external service provider, and with Extended EDI they can be fully managed externally thereby relieving the user of much of the complexity and responsibility. On the other hand, integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is managed in-house, and the maintenance of the platform itself is performed by the iPaaS provider, which ensures greater flexibility and hands-on control for the user.

 

An existing set of functionalities vs. flexibility and unique possibilities

EDI services offer a set of functionalities for the exchange of data and documents and this set of functionalities is usually fairly standard and will meet the needs of many users perfectly well. With iPaaS, users are afforded much greater flexibility and thereby the freedom to undertake independent expansion of services, transformations and integrations with partners defined by specific personal needs.

 

Simple and more affordable vs. higher cost and complexity

EDI managed services are simple, effective, and do not require a significant up-front investment. For many users, this is a sensible compromise between cost, complexity, and needs. The innovation potential of iPaaS means that this model can be far more flexible and adaptable in answering your needs, but higher complexity comes at a higher cost, but still much lower than building your own in-house integration solution.

 

Should you go with Extended EDI iPaaS or EDI managed services?

Finally, the choice between Extended EDI iPaaS or EDI managed services depends on several key factors:

  • company size and complexity of existing IT systems and processes
  • availability of resources to handle any new integration platform
  • strategic decision whether or not to keep systems management in-house

Small and medium-sized businesses will usually opt for EDI managed services to take advantage of the exchange of documents and data and the digitization processes that EDI brings without using their own corporate resources, whereas large enterprises might choose iPaaS as a more flexible solution to support their planned growth and expansion. However, these are not hard and fast rules and the final choice depends on your situation and preference.
Here are some points to consider.

You may want to choose Integration Platform as a Service if:

  • you have a dedicated IT team that can control, manage and develop your systems
  • you strive for innovation which can bring your company significant competitive advantage
  • you want to make the most of all the possibilities that iPaaS can offer
  • you prefer to keep all system management internal

You may want to choose EDI managed services if:

  • you do not have or want to use your own corporate resources
  • you want to offload as much operational management as possible to qualified service providers in order to focus entirely on your core business
  • you operate in a stable and classically conservative market, such as trade in traditional commodities
  • you prefer simple and standardized operational solutions

 

Whether you decide to go with Extended EDI iPaaS or EDI managed services, the results will definitely be increased efficiency and more happy customers. Digitalization has become a crucial part of both our private and business lives, so why not use it to your advantage? Digitalize your company to the max, upgrade your service capability and accelerate success. Let us help you achieve this by demonstrating just how simple this transformation can be and how it can be tailored to your specific needs.

No matter what you choose in the end, we are here to provide support and help you achieve your goals.