Is EDI Compliance Possible Using Cloud Computing Services?
The bad news…your customer has asked you to be EDI-compliant. The good news…EDI for cloud computing services is readily available.
With so much talk about cloud computing services, key business requirements sometimes get lost in translation. Using cloud IT services in particular, can alleviate many of the hassles and headaches caused by everyday mishaps…computer viruses, hard drive crashes and the like. But what about those key business requirements such as Electronic Data Interchange, also known simply as EDI? EDI is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents such as purchase orders and invoices. But EDI is also used in government (student loan documents, energy reporting), healthcare (HIPAA compliance) and almost every other industry. So how does EDI fit into a cloud IT solution? Can I be EDI compliant if I use a cloud IT service? Does my cloud IT service provider need to be an EDI specialist?
Common Denominator: Removing Human Error
First of all, EDI can help your business whether you use a cloud IT solution or not. If you’re not already using EDI and you exchange business documents with other companies, chances are, EDI is in your future. Any time you can remove human data entry, you remove the chance for human error and that’s what EDI does. Human error accounts for thousands of dollars in lost revenue each year. What could you do with thousands of dollars in recouped revenue?
EDI compliance for cloud IT customers offers many choices and solutions. The first one, which requires the least amount of investment, is a Web EDI solution. Web-based EDI solutions require no software to install and in most cases can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. This type of solution is very user friendly and no more difficult to manage than email! The next solution would be a hosted services solution. Hosted services is exactly what it sounds like…everything is managed for you. Your data is sent and received between your system and your EDI provider’s system and then sent and received between your EDI provider and your trading partners. Also a “cloud” solution, hosted services would be a perfect fit for a cloud IT customer. Lastly, traditional EDI software is also a good EDI solution for cloud IT users. How is this possible? Cloud IT providers can host the software on their servers, the same way they would host any software you hold the license to.
In most cases, your cloud IT provider will not be an EDI specialist and that’s okay. You want your cloud IT company to do what they do best, which is IT. Your best bet is to ask your IT provider or your EDI capable customers for provider recommendations. Another good source is to ask your ERP provider. Once you find an EDI provider to work with, it’s important that they work together with your IT provider to ensure that your EDI needs are being met. This is especially true if you opt for traditional EDI software because there are issues such as hardware system requirements that need to be considered. Becoming EDI compliant needn’t be difficult for cloud IT customers as long as you do a little research and understand your options.
Guest article written by Shandra Locken of Aurora Technologies, provider of EDI software and support.
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