Electronic data interchange, abbreviated as EDI, is a process which allows a structured exchange of business documents between organizations via electronic data exchange. It has enabled companies to share data and information in real time, eliminating the need for transport or transfer expenses. It also reduces the scope of errors or misplacement which which are associated with a physical transfer, thereby saving money and eliminating. There are several different ways in which this process can be achieved. Depending on the needs of your business, technical abilities, scale and budget at disposal, there is always a right option that you can choose from the plethora of options available in the market.
Direct EDI or Point-to-Point
Direct EDI, which is sometimes called point-to-point EDI, establishes one single connection between two business partners. Using the direct connection method, the client and the business partner is connected directly via the Internet using the same communication protocol. In this approach, you can connect with every business partner individually which gives a business greater control. It is used most commonly between larger customers and suppliers who share a lot of transactions daily.
EDI via VAN or EDI Network Services Provider
This an alternative to the process of direct EDI which make use of an EDI Network Services Provider which, was referred to as Value Added Network (VAN), prior to the Internet. Many businesses prefer this sharing model as it saves them from the ongoing complexities which are associated with supporting the various communication protocols different business partners demand.
EDI via AS2
AS2 is an Internet communications protocol which does a great job in providing a means of secure data transfer over the internet. It essentially involves the use of two computers, one which is a client and the other, which is a server. Both are connected in a point to point manner via the internet. This is fast and agile. EDI via AS2 delivers the functionality of EDI with the help of Internet access.
EDI via FTP/VPN, SFTP, FTPS
The most commonly used communication protocols necessary for the exchange of EDI documents via the Internet involve FTP over VPN, SFTP and FTPS. You can pick any of these to connect to business partners directly or using an EDI Network Services Provider.
Web EDI conducts the transfer of documents using a standard Internet browser. Online forms are used to exchange information with business partners. It is cheap and easy to use and hence it is immensely popular with startups and small and medium range businesses with limited funds.
It is a new and growing approach to EDI where processes which have traditionally been carried out on a PC can now be done right from a mobile. Although it is not fully developed yet, it has been making substantial waves. Therefore, one can expect full EDI features to be implemented on mobile EDI services in the near future
EDI Outsourcing, which is also known as B2B Managed Services or B2B Outsourcing is a fast-growing solution where companies make use of external resources offered by a specialist in order to manage their EDI environment on a regular basis.
Often companies prefer to implement EDI software behind the security of its firewall is sometimes the preferred option. This process requires you install and maintain a software. It is important to pick an EDI software which provides end-to-end automation of your B2B processes by directly integrating to your internal applications.
Depending on your company’s needs and capacities, you need to pick an efficient EDI solution.