Integrated Data, Integrated Business
From EDI to EBI, using the same tool, using the same skill set
Maybe you took a foreign language in school, maybe you didn't. If you did, you soon realized that the more languages you spoke, the more people you could communicate with directly.
Data is no different. If you're a manufacturer, for example, the more trading partners' languages your data is fluent in, the larger the pool of outlets that can carry your products.
Innovate to integrate
We recently worked with an Indiana-based manufacturer who counts some of the nation's largest retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart, among their clients. As the holiday season approaches, they ramp up production and personnel, quadrupling their manufacturing work force to 200 people. But not one in the back office handling data entry for purchase orders, invoices, advanced shipping notices, and other administrative tasks thanks to electronic data integration. With the majority of their orders handled via EDI, labor costs are greatly decreased.
The company uses VAI's S2K as their ERP and EXTOL EDI Integrator to facilitate their electronic data interchange (EDI).
As their trading partners migrate from costly virtual area networks (VANs) onto secure, internet platforms such as AS2, they added EXTOL Secure (ESX) to handle the AS2 compliance requirement. Still, a new trading partner is only viable if you can manage data the way they want it managed.
But you don't have to teach your bits and bytes how to speak everyone's language; you just have to make it appear as though it does. And, the more integrated your data is, the more integrated your entire business is.
With their data integrated, the company is one step closer to complete electronic business integration (EBI). Purchase orders are electronically received and orders automatically created, eliminating error-prone double-entry. Functional acknowledgments, invoices and advanced shipping notices are automatically sent through the EDI system
Just as you rely on EDI software for trading partner data integration you can use any-to-any mapping tools for all your integration needs. Integration needs emerge via internal or external customer demand, requiring rapid response. Integration challenges also exist from different platforms, communication interfaces, and data formats.
Change the rule, not the program
Programming integration, along with being labor intensive and costly, is a one-off solution creating constraints on how it was written. Implement a tool instead and programmers remain engaged on more important work such as enhancing your customers' experience or finding ways to draw traffic to your Web site. Labor costs are reduced and data quality is enhanced.
Data integration-business integration-is well-suited for a tool where you can apply business rules. Then, let the tool monitor and act on those rules. When changes are necessary, change the rule, not the program. Even super non-programming users can now maintain processes.
When one tool set-one skill set-can be used for multiple integration processes, that's real ROI: to your ERP, your WMS, to every nook and cranny of your EDI and enterprise application integration (EAI) efforts.
Access "HowTo Innovate HowTo Implement" Electronic Business Integration Kit