This article is from guest blogger, EDI Supervisor, Raimond Kranenburg. Originally this subject was discussed by IQMS EDI Manager John Asi earlier this year. However, this is a new view on the evolvement and usage of EDI.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in the 70’s and 80’s professed to being the ultimate solution of business-to-business communication. However, the large amount of standards, poorly written translation software, expensive technicians and the requirement of super computers saw it never realize its full potential. By the idea of receiving Purchase Orders at the click of a button, manufacturing companies and other suppliers were often forced by large customers to adopt antiquated software that sat on a standalone PC. The supplier had to periodically check the PC, print out the orders and re-enter them in to their back office applications. The “new-world” of electronic trading saw software and value added network (VAN) suppliers rejoice at their “sophisticated” solutions and ever growing profits. IT Directors professed the world of trading was now “e-lectronic” and CFOs were delighted by cost savings.
All was well until one very well known and respected individual asked whether the emperor had actually any cloths. Why were there so many standards (and sub-standards), why so costly, why was it restricted to only one or two business documents, why was there such a lack of integration and why did it take so long to implement? We should have all seen this coming but the same individual who asked the emperor what had happened to his clothes claimed to have the answer. A software product so ahead of its time that it made EDI look prehistoric, a middleware if you will that threw caution to the wind and embraced a new phenomenon called XML.
The new world of B2B communication was now known as XML, which (so we were lead to believe again) would become the standard for supply chain integration and had the power to overcome all the weaknesses associated with EDI. Many jumped on to the bandwagon although a few (some would say more sane companies) decided to follow their own path, a path towards many messaging standards that worked in harmony. You see, not one messaging standard or technology will ever become the de facto method for B2B communication, period. Because of this, there is now a range of companies that quietly over the last few years have developed universal business translators. Translators that sit within a supply chain, taking XML, EDI, flat-files and many other electronic file formats and in real-time converting these in to a format that is understood by the computer systems of connected parties. Now whilst this may have been technically possible with predecessors, none of us would argue that costs, timescales, speed and overheads would have grounded the project before it even began.
It’s fascinating to see how the landscape has evolved over the last few years to bring us to this point. People have finally accepted that no one B2B language will rule the World, failed supply chain projects litter news desks and archaic technology has been banished to the broom cupboard. IQMS understands this and provides the best of both worlds. Not only is our EDI translator capable of reading and producing all widely accepted formats (X12, EDIFACT, XML, Flat files), the module is also fully integrated in the rest of the ERP system. When using EDI within EnterpriseIQ you have the ability to create orders, ASN’s, invoices and much more without having to worry about fitting a third-party software in your business process. This is why we say: “EDI is not dead, EDI is alive and saving you expenses, Viva la EDI!"