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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) with Application Programming Interface (API) capabilities

To compete in today’s ever evolving business landscape requires effective business to business (B2B) interconnectivity and communication. This, not only for the facilitation of a myriad of essential processes but, so too, with particular reference to B2B communication that involves the facilitation of transactions (financial or other) and the exchange of data between parties. A company’s success, and profitability, is driven by its ability to interact on this level. No longer a ‘nice to have’, effective B2B interconnectivity and communication is what enables a company to operate effectively and efficiently, evolve and grow.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), simply put, facilitates this. It allows organisations to exchange documents and information electronically and automatically over secure and standard channels and formats. This, as opposed to the physical exchange of paper. And, it has been doing so for years! A myriad of examples exist – from the electronic exchange of purchase orders and invoices through to confirmation of payments and deliveries, amongst many other.

Traditionally EDI works in the following manner – the preparation of documents and translation of said documents into an EDI format, followed by the transmission of these documents to the recipient and the uploading of it into the counterpart’s system. The benefits are countless – automated processes and the elimination of human error, reduced documentation costs, data security and auditability, improved business lifecycles and better management and efficiencies, et. al. In summary – it makes life, and business, easier.

With so many companies relying on EDI for the ordering of goods or services, it has fast become increasingly essential. However, EDI adoption is not always driven by internal strategy. The compliance requirements of some operational giants, or pressure from e.g., large retailers who refuse to do business without a proper EDI solution in place, can force the need to adopt EDI.

Organisations – particularly smaller businesses, can find EDI technology expensive and cumbersome to use. Despite being the most widely accepted mode of data communication, EDI has always had a standards specific process that requires complete compatibility with countless business partners. Putting EDI in place requires a cross platform implementation with potential complexities that can increase sevenfold as the number of communications platforms increase. In addition, as formats and standards for these processes may change over time, older EDI would need to be modernised to become more adaptable.

So, how do we level the playing fields and ensure effective B2B interconnectivity and communication more easily and cost-effectively? The future lies in the marrying of traditional EDI processes with newer technologies.

Enter API – Application Programming Interface, a software interface allowing two applications to speak to each other. It is easier to implement and maintain and helps to set up a seamless integration far more cost-effectively.

API is an extremely reliable and secure way to communicate effectively between two disparate systems. It allows certain applications to access data and services from external entities – be it third party consumers, internal users or simply systems looking for data. Not to be confused with the source of information itself, rather, an API is a type of ‘software intermediary’ that acts as a messenger – receiving incoming requests and passing them onto the appropriate system or software that then completes the request.

APIs are transforming the business landscape. It allows for improved collaboration, secure data transmission, easier integration, improved automation and enhanced customer experiences – seamlessly and cost effectively. APIs are not restricted to where the data resides (i.e., cloud or on-premises or any specific platform), thus allowing users the flexibility to work limitlessly across systems acting as a complex yet independent layer of any business model. Essentially, an API-enabled organisation can expect connectivity to bind all its digitisation efforts together without exposing a system to security threats.

The best of both worlds

EDI and API complement each other, working seamlessly together with several advantages of API based EDI integration:

• It enables easy integration, with new and existing systems – within hours, not weeks.

• It improves reliability and efficiency with near real-time feedback from multiple vendors and systems.

• The sending and receiving of data in real-time allow you to make critical decisions, thus improving ROI.

• It enables secure and traceable interactions. Every API call includes the information necessary to confirm the identity of the requester before the sharing of any information takes place. Any data exchanged is always verified for receipt and logged for any future reference thus making it easy to retrace for any audit or compliance needs.

EDI, with advanced API capabilities, allows organisations to modernise their EDI processes to qualify partners faster and secure their supply chain workflows. Its huge value lies in that it enables organisations to remain independent from partner systems and network changes while still supporting common protocols, secure exchanges and improved communication.

Symtrax helps businesses accelerate its transition towards the digital future it envisions and needs! The combined effort of multiple technologies able to work together, albeit on disparate systems, is what truly contributes towards effective (and holistic) digital transformation. Using automation, our document management services help to reduce manual dependencies – making data management easier (cloud and on-premises).

Further, our direct integration with ERPs (API-based) ensures a direct communication channel with the system, delivering automated data conversion that allows you to toggle between the data formats best suited to your business processes. Our solution is powered with RPA capabilities and an integrated modern EDI solution for standard-specific document transmission.

Editorial contacts
Janine Stapleton (+44) 0203 761 9806
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