Trading Electronically With EDI
If your business is being encouraged to trade electronically with major customers or suppliers, you may be asked to consider the use of EDI or XML. You may have even experienced EDI in a previous role and see it as the solution to a current business issue.
Whilst EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) in the 1990s and XML (eXtensible Markup Language) more recently, were the go-to solutions for electronic trading, the reality today is that businesses need a far more flexible means of exchanging data. Increasingly, businesses need to find a modern alternative to EDI that is cost effective and not volume driven for cost.
Multiple Software Applications
Furthermore, if your business sits at the heart of a multi-faceted supply chain with numerous major customers and suppliers, you could easily find yourself needing to purchase and implement multiple software applications to manage each channel. You are then caught having to maintain each application, perhaps rekeying data into your own in-house systems. Subsequently your IT estate is driven by external forces. The result is an expensive, manually intensive and inefficient model.
You may feel compelled to comply with the requests of bigger players in your supply chain to safeguard revenue and relationships. With each customer and supplier relationship holding value, it is understandable why so many companies end up with disparate systems.
Increased IT Costs Reduce Margins
EDI and XML can carry a significant price tag and require a specific level of technical knowhow. It can feel like a major undertaking to implement one of these systems, let alone multiple iterations. This level of investment, to secure a contract or manage an ongoing relationship, can very quickly lead to reduced margins.
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