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For any company that is considering a new EDI implementation and is struggling to understand EDI and what it takes to develop an EDI department, the links I have provided below should prove useful. 

The first question a company will want to ask themselves is why support EDI or other B2B data exchanges at all?  What is the purpose and business value?  EDI and B2B systems, integrations and support are expensive and time consuming.  What is the expected ROI?  Often customers demand EDI support, and the business will quickly see the value in implementing EDI (electronic data interchange) with their suppliers and logistics partners  The reason you want to document the purposes is that it helps focus support and encourages coorperation during challenging implementations.

If your company can identify why supporting EDI is important, then the second question is should EDI be supported internally or can it be subscribed to as a service (SaaS or IaaS models)?  EDI systems, staffing, development, integrations, implementations, operations and support are very expensive.  The company really must understand the business value upfront, and then decide if this huge multi-year investment is worthwhile to support internally.  Not only is it expensive, but it will require your best IT developers and brains to get everything working.  Is this the best use of your best brains this year?  If not, can you simply subscribe to an external EDI service provider that will take care of everything for a small set-up fee and a monthly service fee?

For those new to the world of EDI, or just want a refresher, the following links identify many of the tasks, challenges and issues that need to be considered and understood.

Implementing EDI

Staffing for an internal EDI department

EDI Business Network Transformation

EDI and B2B Challenges

EDI data, mappings and other intellectual assets

Considerations for outsourcing EDI

SAP’s New Strategy for EDI

The Real Purpose of EDI

More on EDI Staffing

Documenting EDI data requirements

Creating an EDI Implementation Guide

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