EDI and eCommerce

Business Challenges Facing eCommerce

Manual, non-integrated order processes that drive up process and purchase costs, lack of data integration that limits visibility into procurement activities, vendor performance and sales activities, and difficulty accessing timely and accurate information are the three biggest challenges facing enterprise eProcurement and eCommerce.

EDI Trends

Companies use a range or combination of approaches, such as:

  • Building or outsourcing the B2B infrastructure,
  • Using traditional batch electronic data interchange (EDI) at one extreme,
  • Emerging cloud services at the other extreme,
  • Web services-based service-oriented architecture (SOA)

What is EDI?

EDI is a legacy technology that continues to thrive despite predictions over the past decade of its imminent demise. Establishing EDI links to hundreds or thousands of trading partners is not easy, however once in place, it works very well with minimum maintenance; hence it became the de facto standard for electronic document exchange in many sectors. A key trend is that the market for stand-alone EDI translators (and SOA and MFT) is quickly being absorbed into B2B gateway software.

Today’s B2B exchanges support a wider range of message formats going well beyond standard EDI business documents. It is anticipated that the deployment channel will change over the next three years with 32% saying they will rely more on software solutions.

Key Forrester Findings

Forrester conducted a survey and found that 82% of the respondents cited the need to reduce rising costs (for the business) and the need to exchange electronic documents with business partners. Manual document exchange is still prevalent in many firms, bringing higher operational costs. Moving to electronic documents saves both time and money. The need for real-time visibility in business processes also scored high (81%), highlighting the need for improved visibility in B2B operations. They also found that EDI support teams will become more mainstream – people who supported phone orders will be re-deployed to integration competency centers.

Technical Problems with EDI Systems

There are multiple problems with EDI systems:

  • Today’s B2B exchanges need to support a wider range of message formats going well beyond standard EDI business documents
  • 66% of enterprises have difficulty integrating their inbound/outbound EDI transactions with other applications
  • 59% of enterprises have difficulty managing their partner communities, and this problem increases as the size of the partner community grows
  • 58% of companies say they have difficulty supporting smaller, non-EDI-capable partners
  • 58% say they are unable to effectively support process improvement efforts

Netfira has multiple B2B software solutions that automate order processing for your in-bound and out-bound supply chain. The Netfira Buyer solution helps with eProcurement and automating orders with your suppliers. The Netfira Seller solution helps with the sales side and automates orders with your customers, dealers and distributors.

Our solutions are MYOB and SAP certified and work in conjunction with many major ERP, inventory and accounting systems such as SAP, Ariba, Oracle, MYOB, Sage AccPac, QuickBooks and Peachtree.

How are you managing your ePurchasing and eCommerce? Please join the conversation in the comments section below.

Do you have questions about Netfira’s technology? Contact us.
Sources:

  • Taxonomy, Definitions and the Vendor Landscape for Application Integration Solutions, 2011, Gartner, dated March 2011
  • Future of EDI, Forrester, dated Feb 2011
  • Vendor Survey Analysis: A Closer Look at North American ERP and SCM Solutions for Wholesale Distributors, Gartner, dated June 2011
  • Market Trends: Multi-enterprise/B2B Infrastructure Market, Worldwide, 2010-2015,1Q11 Update, Gartner, dated Feb 2011

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