When budgeting time, resources and personnel for setting up, implementing, operating and supporting an EDI/B2B department, it is important to understand the complete picture. There are a large number of different business, database, development, support and EDI resources that will be needed. Earlier in my career, I served as an EDI Manager in a medium sized PC manufacturing company and here are the IT resources that I was using on a regular basis.
- 1 EDI Manager (full-time)
- 5 EDI specialists (full-time)
- 1 Database Administrator (part-time)
- 1 IT standards team (part-time)
- 2 IT software engineers working on integration projects (part-time)
- 3 Oracle IT specialist defining business process and data integration requirements (part-time)
- 1 Communication/Security specialists (part-time)
- 1 IT Business Analyst (full-time)
- 1 IT Systems Analysts (part-time)
- 6 Business Process Specialists (part-time owners of business processes and different database applications)
- 1 IT Help Desk person (part-time)
- 3 IT Managers (part-time)
- 1 IT Network Administrator (part-time)
- 1 IT Data Center/Server Manager (part-time)
- 1 IT Web Portal Specialists (part-time)
- 2 IT Project Managers (part-time)
- 3 Directors of Business Units (part-time)
It may come as a surprise to many that contributions from 32 or more people are required to set-up and implement EDI in a medium sized company. Most are part-time, but their skills and experience are required in many planning and strategy meetings and on implementation projects.
The costs were easily over $1 million dollars per year in resources. That does not include the EDI/B2B system, annual support and maintenance, training and hardware costs.
Operating an internal EDI system cannot be an after thought. It requires a significant budgetary commitment from both the business units and the IT department.
I was managing an EDI team that needed to support many disparate software applications that required different business and systems experts, managers, developers and integration skills. That was certainly not the best and most cost effective IT environment to support. You could avoid many of the IT costs I incurred by standardizing on SAP and utilizing SAP’s Netweaver PI platform as your EDI/B2B integration point.
Companies that have standardized on SAP and utilize SAP’s Netweaver PI, have documented methodologies and business processes, a defined integration strategy for all of the various business processes and can decide between the options of either operating an EDI/B2B department internally, or using an EDI/B2B managed service provider.