This post was updated to reflect current trends and information.
An article on our parent site, Namtek Consulting Services, called “Finding the Middle Ground with EDI Software & Services, ” explains the three most common options Small and Medium Enterprises look into when beginning to use EDI to exchange documents with their Trading Partners.
These 3 options consist of:
- Building an EDI translation tool from scratch and doing all communication in-house
- Going with a large, reputable EDI Vendor to outsource your EDI
- Buy an EDI translation tool, targeted solely to developers
Here are the PROs and CONs for each:
1. Homegrown EDI Software
With this option, your company must have an in-house IT team, with the necessary EDI knowledge and experience to handle EDI capabilities and requirements.
PRO: The IT team is capable of developing their own EDI translation software to integrate within their ERP system for optimal performance. The whole process will be customized to their exact needs.
CON: This process usually ends up being very expensive and time-consuming for everyone involved. On top of it, many SMEs cannot afford to have their own in-house IT department and EDI experts.
2. Prominent EDI Vendor
PRO: Large vendors help you connect to the retail industry’s largest network of Trading Partners.
CON: These Vendors are not cheap! Get ready to pay high monthly fees and to wait months at a time to hear back from their Support team.
3. EDI Translators for Developers
PRO: These tools are affordable to buy, consisting only of a low one-time fee.
CON: Because these translation tools are used and maintained by developers, it requires knowledgeable resources in-house and ongoing support within the company to preserve all EDI capabilities. Your in-house team will need to handle all EDI mapping and requirements for each Trading Partner connection. Therefore, the cost to buy the translation tool may be within budget, but it will cost your company time, effort and in-house IT wages to complete the whole EDI project.