The world of business and government compliance, and as a result EDI, is rapidly changing today. Solutions and methods that worked 5 years ago may not support the new reality of the market and government regulations. Companies are seeking greater consolidation, standardization, efficiencies and cost reductions. Management is evaluating every service to identify if it is a core service that is required to be provided internally, or is a candidate for outsourcing. The following changes in the market are impacting EDI and B2B operations in 2009:
- The rapid adoption of multi-enterprise supply chains add huge numbers of mappings, integrations and communications to a traditional trading partner community.
- These emerging requirements will require significant increases in the size and expense of the EDI/B2B department or a change of paradigms.
- Mergers and acquisitions are to be expected as the norm – IT staff and infrastructures must be preparted for many integrations and systems consolidation projects.
- Supply chains, logistics, customers, vendors, government regulation, markets and product lines are changing monthly and IT must be flexible enough to effectively support these changes.
- The traditional methods of on-boarding or rolling out new EDI and B2B trading partners in long multi-year implementations are far too slow and labor intensive.
- Standardized integration methodologies and technologies must be implemented to enable rapid on-boarding of EDI and B2B trading partners.
- Data and system harmonization must be accomplished. The semantics and syntax of data must be harmonized and normalized across the enterprise to enable rapid and accurate data integration projects.
- Expensive EDI infrastructures must be re-invented to reduce costs in these troubled economic times.
- More government regulations, VAT compliance and e-Invoicing requirements are to be expected.
Here is an example of one new government regulation in Mexico that will impact the EDI departments of companies with locations that invoice from Mexico.
- In May 2009 the Mexican government will change the way companies can send paper invoices to customers. The new regulations require that companies using paper invoicing will now be required to obtain pre-printed invoice forms certified by the Servicio de Administracion Tributaria (SAT) or adopt a solution to send digitally signed invoices electronically to domestic and international customers.
The two excerpts below describe some of the many changes in the world of EDI and B2B that are impacting SAP users:
- SAP customer Brown Forman had a steadily increasing backlog of EDI project requests, with each transaction requiring multiple weeks of internal effort, and increasing complexity associated with integrating trading partners in locations around the world. “Hiring new employees or training existing ones to include new global EDI requirements would have been cost-prohibitive for us because it would have been so resource-intensive,” said Kathy Pramik, Brown Forman’s AVP & Director of Enterprise Systems.
- Due to recent acquisitions of various businesses, this Nemak’s operations around the world have more than doubled. As a result of this rapid expansion, the complexity and volume of EDI and B2B transactions has also increased. The company had various ERP solutions in place and multiple EDI and B2B platforms, teams and locations to support, with no centralization of EDI or B2B integration management.
Traditional EDI is hard work and takes a lot of time, focus and effort. SAP is listening and has taken steps to address the changing market for EDI and B2B. They are standardizing EDI and B2B integration around Netweaver PI, Enterprise Services Repositories, Global Data Types and eSOA and delivering these out-of-the-box B2B services with upcoming enhancement packages.