Best of both worlds – electronic data interchange with application programming interface capabilities

Competing in today’s ever-changing business landscape requires effective business-to-business (B2B) interconnectivity and communication. This, not only for the facilitation of a myriad of essential processes, but also with particular reference to B2B communication which involves the facilitation of transactions (financial or otherwise) and the exchange of data between parties. The success and profitability of a business depends on its ability to interact at this level. Effective B2B interconnectivity and communication is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s what allows a business to operate efficiently and effectively, scale and grow.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), in simple terms, facilitates this. It allows organizations 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 he’s been doing it for years! There are myriad examples – from electronically exchanging purchase orders and invoices to confirming payments and deliveries, among many others.

Traditionally, EDI works in the following way – the preparation of documents and the translation of said documents into an EDI format, followed by the transmission of these documents to the recipient and their upload into the counterparty’s system. The benefits are innumerable – automated processes and elimination of human error, reduced documentation costs, data security and auditability, improved business lifecycles and improved management and efficiency, etc. Al. In summary, it makes life and business easier. With so many businesses relying on EDI for ordering goods or services, it has quickly become increasingly essential. However, EDI adoption is not always driven by internal strategy. Compliance requirements from some operational giants, or pressure from large retailers, for example, who refuse to do business without a proper EDI solution in place, can force the need to adopt EDI.

Organizations, especially small businesses, can find EDI technology expensive and cumbersome to use. Although it is the most widely accepted mode of data communication, EDI has always had a standards-specific process that requires full compatibility with countless trading partners. Setting up EDI requires a cross-platform implementation with potential complexities that can increase sevenfold as the number of communication platforms increases. Additionally, as the formats and standards for these processes may change over time, the legacy IDE should be modernized to become more adaptable.

So, how to level the playing field and ensure effective B2B interconnectivity and communication more easily and at lower cost? The future lies in marrying traditional EDI processes with new technologies.

Enter API, Application Programming Interface, a software interface for two applications to talk to each other. It’s easier to implement and maintain and allows for seamless integration to be set up in a much more cost-effective way.

The API is an extremely reliable and secure way to communicate efficiently between two disparate systems. It allows certain applications to access data and services from external entities – whether third-party consumers, internal users, or simply systems looking for data. Not to be confused with the information source itself, an API is more of a type of “software middleman” that acts as a messenger – receiving incoming requests and forwarding them to the appropriate system or software which then processes the request .

APIs are transforming the business landscape. It enables improved collaboration, secure data transmission, easier onboarding, improved automation, and enhanced customer experiences, seamlessly and cost-effectively. APIs are not limited to where the data resides (i.e. in the cloud or on-premises or any specific platform), allowing users to work unlimitedly across systems acting as a complex layer but independent of any business model. Essentially, an API-enabled organization can expect connectivity to link all of its scanning efforts without exposing a system to security threats.

The best of both worlds

EDI and API complement each other and work seamlessly with several benefits of API-based EDI integration:

  • It allows easy integration, with new and existing systems – in hours, not weeks.
  • It improves reliability and efficiency with near real-time feedback from multiple vendors and systems.
  • Sending and receiving real-time data enables you to make critical decisions, improving return on investment.
  • It enables secure and traceable interactions. Each API call includes the information necessary to confirm the identity of the requester before any information sharing takes place. All data exchanged is always checked for receipt and logged for future reference, facilitating traceability for any audit or compliance needs.

EDI, with advanced API capabilities, enables organizations to modernize their EDI processes to qualify partners faster and secure their supply chain workflows. Its enormous value lies in allowing organizations to remain independent of partner systems and network changes while supporting common protocols, secure exchanges and improved communication.

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

Additionally, our direct integration with ERPs (API-based) ensures a direct communication channel with the system, providing automated data conversion that allows you to switch between data formats best suited to your business processes. Our solution is powered by RPA capabilities and a modern integrated system EDI Solution for the transmission of documents specific to the standard.