If you are a business owner who deals with creating spreadsheets and sending invoices you might have some familiarity with electronic data interchange. Maybe you’re familiar with it but have yet to invest in an EDI software or web EDI service.
Before deciding to invest in EDI it is important to weigh the pros and cons and perform a bit of research. You can get started here to learn about what EDI is, the different types of EDI, and the potential benefits (as well as drawbacks) of making the leap into the world of electronic data interchange.
What is EDI?
For those of you who don’t know electronic data interchange is the practice of sending documents electronically from business to business. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “Isn’t that the same as sending an email?” It is actually completely different and EDI uses special formatting and processing techniques for completel efficiency.
With an EDI system in place documents are converted into a standard format so that each party can easily view and analyze the data. There are tons of reasons to start investing in EDI. Not only does it cut back on paper and postage costs but it also allows you to run your business more smoothly than ever.
Sending documents electronically is more efficient and allows you to get things accomplished faster and with less chance of error. EDI eliminates the need for inputting data manually which means there is essentially no chance of making a mistake. You employees can start focusing on other tasks and leave data collection and document exchange in the hands of EDI.
What is web-based EDI?
There are several types of EDI services. You have the option of investing in software installation that runs throughout the entire company on all computers. There is also the option of investing in a web-based EDI service. These two things serve the same purpose but they work in different ways; there are pros and cons to each one.
A web-based EDI program can be easily accessed using a web browser. It is technically considered a “software as a service” where you’ll be required to pay a monthly fee to keep the service active. If you’re unfamiliar with EDI and have never used it before this is the best starting option to get your foot in the door.
Pros to a web-based EDI service
Web EDI tends to be much more affordable than full-on software installation. It is perfect for smaller businesses who want easy access through a web browser and don’t want to spend the time and money on implementing a software throughout the company. It is also nice because you don’t have to make a huge commitment; usually you can cancel the service whenever you see fit.
Unfortunately since web-EDI is done through a browser there is less security involved. These systems do have encryption capabilities but you need to remember that your sensitive information is not kept within your company’s firewalls; it is stored on separate servers. If security is the name of your game then web EDI might not be the best option for you.