Forrester Research in March of this year released a very interesting study on B2B trends. Despite what we all think and hear EDI is not dead and actually still has legs, but what is growing however is the use of spreadsheets and other file technologies to transfer business data. Think about it for a moment. People are using Excel spreadsheets, text files, flat files, and pdfs to send and receive orders, pricelists, inventory updates, customs documents etc. You name it gets created in a spreadsheet, text or flat file. If you look at your own organizations you all do it, I would bet money on it.
The Forrester research shows that roughly 50% of large companies receive data via EDI, compared to 41% of SMBs. What is most surprising is that the use of spreadsheets and other text files accounts for 53% of traffic in large companies compared to 42% in SMBs. Flat files account for 51% of traffic in large companies and 33% in SMBs. So although EDI still has legs the use of other formats is growing and has over taken EDI. So what does it mean for SMBs?
There is a huge productivity enhancer here. People have traditionally focused on integrating EDI into their ERP and backend systems, but how many have actually taken the next step to integrate other data flows into their systems? Very, very few. The reason is simple. Many if not most companies have purchased an EDI system that can do nothing else and if they have attempted to integrate other data flows it’s been through inefficient and expensive custom programming or better yet not at all. In an earlier blog article I asked why would you buy just an EDI system? The Forrester numbers clearly show that today, progressive and productive companies should be looking for a middleware platform that can handle multiple data flows, not just EDI. If you have ECS Server and Delta you already have the middleware to handle these formats. The question is are you taking advantage of all the software’s capabilities? If you don’t have ECS Server and Delta, Virtual Logistics offers an integration as a service platform where we can translate all these data types for you or we can replace your existing EDI system with the ECS Server and Delta middleware.