EDI Software Buyer's Guide
By Lindsey Jenkins, Market Research Associate
EDI software enables the system-to-system exchange of data found in business documents such as invoices, purchase orders and shipping notifications. Businesses have used electronic data interchange software for decades to improve operating efficiency and to strengthen coordination with external trading partners. There are many top EDI providers on the market, so take some time to find the EDI solution that works best for you.
- EDI software allows businesses to transmit important documents such as purchase orders in a timely, secure manner.
- When looking to implement EDI software, make sure to account for factors such as budget and the tools that your business partners use to increase the likelihood of successful application.
- EDI system features vary among EDI vendors, so it’s recommended that you use a list of your own business requirements in order to discover the best solution for you.
- When discussing software options with EDI companies, make sure to ask about logistics, specific features that you need and any potential barriers to entry that you expect to encounter.
See how the top 10 EDI Software leaders fare against the most common key requirements
EDI solutions reduce the time and manpower required for business-to-business (B2B) file and information transfer. EDI business-to-customer (B2C) solutions are also prevalent and can help ease some of the points of tension along the supply chain. When this software is integrated, EDI products serve as a starting point for a range of business functions meant to ease the facilitation of business processes.
For example, you could use EDI to automate and hasten the secure transfer of purchase order data from your system to that of your business partners. By using EDI for this process, you can reduce the time and manpower spent on finding the accurate recipient of this information, converting it to the correct format and uploading the attachment. By itself, the process of sending one purchase order doesn’t take up a lot of time, but when you compound all of the POs that you send out, it adds up.
Four of the main advantages of EDI software solutions are listed below:
Secure file transfer
How EDI works is that generated documents are fed into the software and then converted to a generic EDI format, such as X12, EDIFACT or UBL. Once this translation occurs, the document can then be sent to your business partner through a secure connection. You may opt for a direct, point-to-point connection to complete the transfer, or you might instead opt to use a value-added network (VAN).
Some companies choose to use VANs to reduce infrastructure investment and overhead expense. VANs test and manage EDI connections on a company’s behalf, which is an option if you wish to simplify the process. Here are some visualizations of how point-to-point connections and VANs work.
Point-to-point integration: Business-to-business communication software installed within the internal corporate environment allows for flexibility to control and have full access to individual connections, yet it requires significant organizational investment in terms of time, money and professional development.
Outsourced integration: Third parties, called interconnects, offer businesses managed services and a simplified process for EDI. Although organizations inevitably lose speed in establishing new connections and visibility into existing ones, third parties (like VANs) test and manage EDI connections on a company’s behalf, reducing infrastructure investment and overhead expense.
Faster movement of documents
EDI processing software significantly reduces the amount of time spent waiting on documents to arrive, whether you typically receive information via email, mail or courier pigeon. By using a centralized delivery method, important documents are less likely to get lost in the mail or stopped by a spam folder.
A good way to think of how an EDI service increases workflow speeds is by considering the time you spend going through your address book, selecting recipients, writing an email body with context as to the content of your message, waiting for your attachment to successfully upload and then monitoring your messages for confirmation of successful receipt. With EDI, you just have to transmit the aforementioned attachment to the software. Because the route to your business partner has been pre-programmed, you can be assured that your transmission went to the right place and notification features confirm successful receipt.
Reduced opportunity for human error
Human error is a huge culprit of reduced company productivity. In fact, in a 2016 study, 57 percent of sampled prescriptions had human-generated mistakes. It sure makes you think about how many accidental typos have affected your business. By going with an EDI solution provider, you can reduce the amount of human involvement needed in the transmission of information, therefore improving productivity.
Additionally, EDI products can help free up some of your valuable time so that you can spend more of your day working on other essential business functions that can’t be automated.
Integration with existing software
When making a software decision, EDI integration tools are a major selling point. After all, you don’t want to rethink your entire software strategy if you can avoid it, right? Many EDI software options allow for easy integration with other software that your company may be currently using for processes such as accounting, warehouse management and ERP.
As software needs grow and solutions become ever more prevalent, EDI integration software will become more and more essential. It’s always a good idea to ensure that your technology is compatible. Workability among your different software systems can only improve your outcomes, especially when you consider time spent keying information or transferring data from one software system to another.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EDI Software
Before you decide on which EDI program to buy, it’s important that you create a list of goals that you hope to meet during a successful implementation. If you’ve purchased software before, you know that the process can quickly get out-of-hand or over budget, so these goals should help you keep everything straight along the way.
Before you begin, you should develop an appropriate software budget. This will prevent you from overspending on factors such as additional users and special capabilities that sound amazing in the moment but don’t look so great after the numbers are added up.
Ensure coordination with business partner tools
Because of the range of EDI solutions that are available on the market right now, it is likely that businesses that you work with have some sort of EDI system already set up. You will need to coordinate with your business partners to determine which EDI translation they use in their system to make sure that it has the ability to parse the language of the solution that you are interested in.
Allocate IT support
Deploying software takes work, to put it lightly. Look at your IT department’s current commitment schedule to determine a good time for installation. This will help users receive the software support that they need in order to use the system most effectively.
Think about your end-goal
Perhaps most importantly, think about what benefits you wish to achieve with the implementation of your new software. Whether you are looking for increased integration, faster turnaround or are required to purchase EDI software by one of your business partners, considering this factor will strongly inform your purchase decision.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EDI Software
Basic Features & Functionality
Once you determine your business’s unique EDI software requirements, the next step is to create a checklist of EDI tools that you specifically need your system to include. There are hundreds of functions to choose from, but some main categories that are popularly requested are listed below.
|EDI Transformation and Translation||
EDI transformation and translation securely transfer encrypted files over public and private networks, allowing businesses to communicate more efficiently. Many EDI platforms provide an integration platform for converting messages and documents from one encoding method to another.
|EDI Mapping and Implementation||
DI mapping is an attribute that synchronizes your business operations with that of your business partner(s). By mapping inbound and outbound messages, documents can be easily and securely sent through the system.
The testing feature allows businesses to use a test environment to look at the features and functionalities involved in their specific solution. This ensures that upon deployment, everything works the way it’s meant to.
|Transaction Lifecycle Management||
Transaction lifecycle management helps users identify transaction trends. This feature will also solve errors by conducting processes such as removing duplicate entries. Notifications of any transmission errors are also present due to continuous monitoring of data.
EDI integration is an extremely beneficial feature that allows you to connect your EDI software with other software that you currently use or will implement in the future. Many EDI options provide integration with ERP software and some will even build custom integrations based on your software needs.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EDI Software
Advanced Features to Consider
Stemming from our research with hundreds of software owners and managers who are all looking for the best EDI software, we gained knowledge of the unique features buyers are seeking out and why they want them.
Below are some features outside of the standard set that are frequently sought out.
Document management puts transmissions such as financial documents into a centralized location where users can monitor and view data. Users can also keep track of inbound and outbound movement and can opt to receive notifications as transmissions progress.
Order management allows users to create and process orders while also editing and sending out shipping notifications. Automated scheduling technology may also be included with this function.
|Reporting and Analytics||
Real-time data analytics reports and visualization tools provide information on factors such as incoming orders, due orders and trading partner performance.
Software is available either on-premise or as cloud-based EDI. Depending on your company’s needs, one of these deployment options may be more well-suited than the other.
Database support provides access to platforms such as Microsoft SQL and Oracle.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EDI Software
Now that you are aware of some of the features that EDI software companies provide, it’s time to start looking at specific EDI vendors. Comparing EDI service providers can seem like a daunting task, which is why we’ve compiled an in-depth EDI comparison report. This report compares the features of dozens of EDI systems to help you find an EDI company that aligns with your needs.
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you’re reading this article and you’re still asking yourself if EDI is the right choice for your company, you might consider asking these questions.
- Are your current business partners using EDI? It is important to determine the software programs that your partners use, if any, when deciding if EDI is the correct tool for you. If your business partner is unwilling or unable to support your EDI translation software, then it might not be a great fit at this time.
- Is EDI or API a better option for my specific needs? Some companies are migrating to using APIs for their technology needs. There are pros and cons to API and EDI technologies, and it’s ultimately up to you which type of solution you prefer.
- Which business functions will I use EDI for and does EDI support those needs? Look at the file formats that you wish to send along with any other specific functionality that you are attempting to gain by introducing new software to your business. Depending on the breadth of features that you wish to implement, it may make sense to use an “all-in-one” solution like ERP software along with an EDI solution to ensure successful software integration.
Questions to Ask Vendors
When selecting an EDI software vendor, you should consider asking them a few questions about the industries that they have experience in, their company viability, etc. Here are a few things to ask about when you’re considering a potential software solution.
- Have you ever worked with a company in my industry? You will likely prefer to work with an EDI software company that has experience in your industry or an adjacent industry.
- What kind of EDI translation do you support, and will it work with the system that my current business partners are using? In order to ensure that your new software works properly for both you and your business partners, the EDI that you implement needs to work downstream at your partner’s site.
- How much integration is available? Does the system integrate with the software programs that I'm currently using? You can reduce the headache of trying to integrate software that isn’t compatible by identifying the technology that you currently use and discussing how it integrates with a vendor’s EDI solution.
- What size of business do you typically work with? Some software is more well-suited to small businesses, just as some is to large businesses. You should ask the EDI software provider if their software will work well for the size of business that you are seeking software for.
- How often are system updates made, and what is the process for implementing them? The last thing you want to do is purchase a software solution that is difficult to update when the need arises. Adaptability and support are essential factors to consider when selecting software.
- What kind of tech support do you offer? As you are likely aware, a positive customer experience can greatly impact how efficiently you are able to use a software service. Choosing a company that has a well-rounded and helpful tech support line could help you get the best bang out for your buck from your solution.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top EDI Software
CircleCI is a continuous integration and continuous development tool to build, test and deploy code to automate users’ development process at scale. It is available as a cloud-based or an on-premise deployment strategy. It helps teams simplify pipeline maintenance, reduce feedback cycles and get builds faster. Users can use SSH into failed builds for easy and quick debugging. It maintains third-party integrations automatically. Its configurations are reusable for multi-project management and it provides workflows for job orchestration. Builds start in a clean environment and all the environments are encrypted. Users don’t have to manage and install plugins; core functionalities for GitHub and Bitbucket are built in.
TrueCommerce centralizes the data sharing and document transfer process among organizations. It’s web-based, meaning it’s accessible at any time and any location where internet is available. Connections between more than 92,000 partners are prebuilt to make accessing your company’s collaborators simple.
At eZCom, our Lingo application is not only robust and intuitive, new features are constantly being added by our development team. Many of these are done because we talk to our customers, and the updates are created to meet their evolving needs.
The formula for business integration success with SEEBURGER is derived from a simple concept: “Single source – complete control”. SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite provides an open platform that is designed to easily integrate into existing infrastructures. And it’s open interfaces enable the platform to be supplemented and/or expanded using components from other manufacturers.
Orderful’s API platform helps companies trade EDI data in real-time, consolidate complexity and reduce costs. It is a hub connecting the world’s supply chain, with a global network of buyers and sellers. Connect once to our API and immediately trade EDI data with any trading partner in your supply chain. Our network grows with every new connection made, enabling our customers to immediately reach those connections in our network.Our platform handles millions of EDI and B2B transactions each month for customers ranging from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises.Orderful has removed the technical complexities of data trading. For your business, that means instant trading partner enablement, less code to maintain and reduced costs.
1EDISource offers multiple on-premise and cloud-based EDI solutions to help businesses of all sizes gain improved visibility and control over their electronic business transactions. It’s flagship item, HQXchange, includes their HeadQuarters, AS2 Complete and IntelligentXchange modules to meet a variety of unique needs.It enables digital B2B and supply chain integration while automating processes to boost overall efficiency. Its multiple offerings let users pick and choose between the inclusions they require to make the most impact without unnecessary purchases.
A rapid development integration platform for IT staff to handle diverse connectivity needs ranging from data integration to application integration, from APIs to business process management. Adeptia Integration Suite specializes in creating the human-to-system workflows that are vital to error handling and correction.
SPS Commerce Fulfillment is a software solution that centralizes and streamlines the transfer of documents and other information from one organization to another. It has a range of trading partners connected to its system with the ability to connect with others fairly easily. It contains advanced search functionality to help users find the information that they are looking for within the system, and it also includes auto-fill functionality to reduce the amount of manual data entry required in day-to-day workflows.This system is web-based and easily accessible for users in a variety of sectors and of different business sizes. It contains real-time updates on the state of transfers and orders so that there is reduced confusion in terms of the status of aspects as they are sent out to partners.
Babelway, now owned by Tradeshift, is a B2B integrated EDI solution that gives users control over their document formats, transformations and data. It is web-based and leverages automation to optimize document transfers between trading partners that require multiple formats or transfer methods. It gives users numerous document formats to choose from, optimizes partner onboarding and streamlines end to end document transfer processes.
When landing an account with a hub or retailer that mandates you do EDI with them, it can be a little intimidating. eBridge Connections is experienced in helping businesses become compliant with a trading partners' request in a fast and efficient manner.
DataTrans Solutions provides a broad range of quality EDI and eCommerce solutions designed to enable companies to communicate business data electronically. Whether you are a small company looking for a simple web-based EDI solution or a larger corporation searching for a reliable new EDI system, DataTrans has the right solution. Affordable WebEDI portal and integrations, DataTrans provides the most flexible, most scalable, best valued EDI. Simple, Affordable, Reliable, Cloud-based EDI. WebEDI is a complete solution that scales alongside your organization as your business evolves by integrating with ANY application. Connect with your entire network on a single platform. EDI made simple with DataTrans as your partner.
RedTail EDI provides the benefits of world-class trade compliance without buying EDI software or hardware or adding staff. RedTail takes responsibility for your EDI success – every transaction, with every trading partner, every day – beginning with setup and testing of your trading relationships.
Amosoft’s end-to-end solutions help businesses of all sizes streamline and optimize their EDI processes. Some of its numerous modules include EDI integration, outsourcing, VAN services, reports and more.Its automation inclusions help reduce manual processing tasks while helping businesses save resources. It speeds up new partner onboarding and scales alongside companies as they continue to grow and add to their processes.
Cleo Integration Cloud is cloud based and built with a focus on optimizing the end-to-end ecosystem integration process. It helps businesses gain valuable visibility across their APIs, EDI and non-EDI integrations. It optimizes and streamlines onboarding, application integrations and critical revenue-building processes.Users can leverage the flexibility of choosing between managed services, self-service or an approach that mixes the two. This way, users have complete control over how their integration strategies proceed.
Data Mason’s offers numerous solutions, like Vantage Point EDI, that leverage ERP system connections for robust document integration with EDI and XML processing. Their offerings include partner compliance support and are certified for Microsoft Dynamics 365, NAV, GP, AX and Macola ERP.They can also provide users with helpful connections to warehouse partners, suppliers, customers, transportation partners and financial partners. Managed services, implementation and onboarding support are also provided.
DiCentral Web Based EDI is a tool that allows users to securely send documents and other information to customers, partners and suppliers while also retaining visibility of aspects of the supply chain. The program offers integration with a range of popular vendors along with a library of prebuilt connectivity kits meant to ease the process of building secure connections with business partners. This program is available for both cloud and on-site deployment and has a relatively low price, making it a good option for a wide variety of businesses. It also offers different connection options to its users. Support is available 24/7 via phone and email from all locations.
Though it serves businesses of all sizes, 123 EDI has a focus on small to medium-sized operations. Numerous integrations with popular modules for Sage, Amazon, Microsoft, Shopify and more are available. It handles the trade partner onboarding by ensuring that certification and testing is complete.It also supports integrations with WMS, ERP, accounting, TMS and more. Outside of web-based and hosted offerings, the vendor provides consulting and EDI testing, certification and integration.
EDI LINK provides the bridge between EDI and the accounting system. EDI LINK generates sales orders from your received purchase orders. EDI LINK automatically converts your invoice into an electronic document that is available for transmission back to your trading partner. Manual entry of EDI information is eliminated along with possible errors and wasted labor.
EDIConnect facilitates computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard format between trade partners. With capabilities for incoming file translation, acknowledgment generation, outgoing transaction construction, trade partner management, process orchestration and scheduling, EDIConnect can fulfill the most demanding EDI needs.The transaction builder features a drag-and-drop interface to build complex, hierarchical transactions. With instant preview, users can identify and resolve mapping errors in real time. The data is then validated against an EDI format and sent to the partner. EDI standards like ASC X12 and HIPAA are supported. Users can also build custom transaction sets according to partner requirements.
Axway gives you the power to integrate, secure, manage and measure all of the data flows that drive your business interactions, so you can get closer to your customers and work smarter with your partners. By breaking down barriers between applications, departments, locations and user communities, you can move from the chaos of point-to-point connections to a proactive and predictive environment where you control and optimize the flows of data that impact your business.
VL OMNI provides agile and scalable SaaS data integration (including EDI). Accelerate Growth with VL OMNI: Your trusted integration platform for real-time accurate customer order data, shipment details, inventory, and prices.VL OMNI is an agile point to multi-channel data integration service. Over 200 businesses trust VL OMNI to move data seamlessly through their infrastructure as they grow, expand and accelerate their business.
Leverage a complete EDI and XML processing platform that enables you to achieve EDI integration and compliance in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Our solution-oriented approach takes the risk and expense out of EDI integration and compliance efforts.
Everyday EDI, now owned by SPS Commerce, leverages custom programs to provide customers with seamless communications. All standard file formats, XML, ASCII positional files and CSV files can be converted to EDI. Based on the web, users can access it via mobile device helping businesses remain compliant with EDI transaction requirements.It provides over 350,000 trading connections, 1,000 qualified 3PL providers, 200 ERP automations and more. Integrations with numerous ERP, WMS and OMS are available.
Our easy-to-use interface helps our clients work with major retailers including Amazon, Macy’s, Safeway, and Nordstrom. Foundation 3000™ is proud to be listed as a suggested EDI provider of Nordstrom and offers electronic data interchange compliance with.
Enspire Commerce is a omni-channel eCommerce management solution designed to optimize customer engagement, brand loyalty and sales. By providing a platform of features such as order management, Point of Sale, product information management, trading partner management and omni-channel fulfillment execution, Enspire Commerce aims to provide an all-in-one eCommerce management tool. The enVista Unified Commerce Platform includes:Enterprise Order Management (OMS)Point of Sale (POS/mPOS)Product Information Management (PIM)Omni-Channel FulfillmentVendor Drop ShipElectronic Data Interchange (EDI)Digital Commerce
ArcESB is a leading B2B application and data connectivity solution for secure managed file transfer (MFT), EDI processing, and back-office integration. ArcESB seamlessly connects enterprise applications like CRMs, ERPs, marketing and accounting software, and even relational database systems to automate complex processes and synchronization across the enterprise, both on-premises and in the cloud.The application supports file transfer through a wide array of B2B messaging protocols including AS2, AS4, OFTP, SFTP, and more. It streamlines, secures, and automates data movement and gives users the ability to define workflows around incoming and outgoing files. In addition, ArcESB features interactive EDI mapping and translation with support for all major EDI standards and protocols such as X12 and EDIFACT. This allows users not only to exchange files with their trading partners but also to translate those messages into a readable XML format that is ready for further processing.A codeless visual interface features a modern drag-and-drop approach to workflow management where users can configure connectors in a workspace to build complex workflows. This drag-and-drop approach also extends to data transformation, allowing users to easily map data between formats like JSON, XML, and CSV. These features can be used to integrate backend applications with EDI messaging workflows, or simply to synchronize data between two or more disparate applications.ArcESB is a modern integration framework that enables organizations to manage all their file transfers, EDI communication, and backend workflows through a central solution that is reliable, secure, scalable, and can be deployed anywhere.
When was the last time you re-evaluated your EDI integration strategy? Ensure you're leveraging the latest technologies with the Liaison ALLOY™ Platform, which offers flexible cloud implementation options, fully secures your data at rest or in transit, and provides real-time visibility into data flow.
Comarch EDI (previously Comarch ECOD) is the multinational B2B platform, which integrates a community of over 15 500 companies from 30 countries. This platform is used by small and medium enterprises, as well as the biggest companies from the sectors of FMCG, DIY, logistics, petrol, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
EDI Advantage is the market leading EDI integration solution and the reason for that is no secret: EDI Advantage gives you the most tools to reduce your document processing time while automating procedures that dramatically lower your overhead costs. Completely integrated with Sage 100, EDI Advantage lives right in your module folders. Select the modules you need and they display like they were built-in all along. We built the industry’s most robust translator right into EDI Advantage. There is no need to fumble around with 3rd party translators or pay extra fees for these services. EDI Advantage is compatible not only with VAN communication services, but also with AS2 and direct FTP connections. So when your trading partners offer the option to use AS2 or direct FTP (as many do), you can bypass the VAN, and the VAN fees.
Data-Files containing list of procedure codes and a corresponding list of supporting (and in a few cases, non-supporting) diagnosis codes - based off of CMS' National Coverage Determinations, and Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC)'s Local Coverage Determinations.
Entrust EDI’s omnichannel integrations support rapid data communication for small to mid-sized businesses. Its focus on secure and efficient information trading helps trading networks reach optimal performance. Provided implementation services bridge the gaps between ERP systems and mapping or VAN partners. It supports numerous document types and leverages an SFTP based file structure to ensure optimal performance.
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