I am amazed in our sales cycle by the number of people I speak to who have selected an EDI Service provider and found out after the fact that they have been slotted into a one size fits all solution. I don’t know too many businesses that are identical even in the same vertical. The way businesses are run is as diverse as the people who work in these organizations.
So here are five questions to ask your prospective EDI service provider.
1. Do I have access to the raw EDI data that my partner transmits? Many people select an EDI solution provider without thinking about what happens in the event of a trading partner dispute. What you see visually on a web form is the translated data. It doesn’t include the headers etc. that are included in the raw un-translated EDI transaction. In the event of a dispute, if you don’t have access to the raw EDI you don’t have a leg to stand on.
2. What if the web form does not fit my business? Most web EDI providers use a standard web form across all clients so they are unlikely to want to customize the web form to the way you do business. Trying to fit your processes into a business model that is different can be costly in person power and very frustrating. If the provider won’t or can’t customize the form then you are probably better off looking for an in house system. But ask the question.
3. Most web EDI providers have very low entry costs. They provide a basic service for the low price. Making changes come with higher charges. Ask what costs might be incurred if you want to receive data in a flat file, have a label customized or send data to an ERP package. These costs add up and if too high often mean work a rounds are put in place that end up costing the company again in person power and data entry mistakes. If you are asking about these types of features an in house system is a better bet.
4. If you are selecting a cloud based service, ask if the configurations are transportable. Do you have the option of moving the system in house? You will be surprised to learn that most cloud solutions lock you in and if you want to move you start all over again. Costly, disruptive, and something you should know up front. Once again if you think transportability might be an issue, think about an in house system
5. Finally, ask about up time. If the web portal or cloud platform goes down you are in trouble. What Service Level Agreement does the service provider have in place? Being out of service for too long could affect your business. Always important to do the due diligence on the ugly stuff. If you are a high volume site can you risk not having this critical infrastructure in house?
Take a read of our integration ebooks for further information. It is free !