Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a technology that allows business partners to exchange business information with each other, electronically. EDI solutions are often integrated with ERP solutions, boosting the productivity of business users by providing a seamless experience. However, as each partner’s ERP is deployed and configured differently, integrating them with your EDI solution can be complex and present several challenges.
Also, can your EDI solution do more than just exchanging information?
This blog post explains the common challenges a business could face when integrating their ERP with an EDI solution and how businesses can elevate the EDI solution to do more for the business.
Note: M3 refers to both Infor M3 and Infor CloudSuite ERP solutions.
Establishing common standards
In an ideal world where you and your customers, partners, suppliers, manufacturers, 3PLs, and freight forwarders use the same ERP solution, EDI-ERP integration can be effortless, but chances of that happening, in reality, is very slim. Also, large businesses often operate over multiple regions, which may use different EDI standards. Even within the same standard, EDI files are sometimes presented in different formats and markups. Therefore, it is necessary to set up an interface that can understand and translate different EDI standards to enable communication between different partners.
Among many other EDI standards, EDIFACT and ANSI X.12 are widely used by business organizations. Click here to read more about different EDI standards.
Excessive cost and time
Setting up a robust EDI interface is an evolving process. However, the high number of partners, complexity of configurations, customizations, and integrations can prolong the initial set up of the EDI framework. Longer the implementation, higher the cost overruns. In addition, EDI translation tools and related infrastructure can be expensive.
Getting a partner to open up their system for EDI can be a challenge due to lack of trust and legal and compliance requirements. Your EDI solution should address those concerns so that you can securely onboard partners to your EDI journey.
As organizations scale, more and more partners join, and the organization’s EDI solution must have the agility and adaptability to onboard partners quickly. Not having an agile and adaptable EDI solution can lengthen the EDI integration project making the project costly and time consuming.
Before selecting an EDI solution and an implementation partner, a business organization should check whether the solution and the partner can address the above challenges.
Fortude offers a proven end-to-end electronic data interchange (EDI) solution for Infor M3 and Infor CloudSuite customers. While providing out-of-the-box EDI functionality, Fortude EDI Framework offers unique features that can significantly boost the speed and accuracy of the EDI document exchange and elevate user experience.
Prebuilt EDI mappings for 100+ popular partners
Fortude EDI Framework uses GXS BizManager as the default EDI translator. With BizManager, Fortude has developed prebuilt EDI mappings for 100+ partners, including Amazon, Nordstrom, and Target, covering Order Cycle, Transportation/Logistics Management, Warehouse Fulfillment, and Finance. The prebuilt EDI mappings significantly reduce cost and time spent on EDI integrations. If you opt for the BizManager cloud version, EDI mappings will be managed by BizManager itself, on the cloud.
If you have already implemented a different EDI translator with custom mappings or prefer a different translator, Fortude EDI Framework can be integrated with it as well.
Once the EDI translator converts an EDI file sent by partners into a standardized format, Fortude EDI Framework inserts it into M3. Before EDI data is inserted into M3, the users can review the information and make the necessary changes through the EDI Management Console—a unique benefit of the Fortude EDI Framework.
Figure 1: High-level architecture of the Fortude EDI Framework
EDI Management Console
The EDI management console is one of the key components of the Fortude EDI Framework. It provides different user interfaces to manage, hold, review, revise, and consolidate EDI transactions before posting them to M3.
Review orders before posting to M3 (Inbound 850/860)
In standard M3, business users can see EDI information only after they’ve been posted to M3. The EDI 850/860 interface in the EDI Management Console holds inbound EDI 850/860 information before posting to M3. This allows business users to review order information before rejecting or processing them to M3. Furthermore, the EDI 850/860 interface provides complex validations that are not offered in M3 out of the box.
To review header information and order lines of a customer order, you can click on a customer order. Based on the validations that have been implemented, the interface highlights the errors and warnings. In the following example, a warning is displayed to notify a price mismatch between M3 and the EDI 850 transaction set. At this point, the user has the ability to override the warning and process the order into M3 or reject the order.
Figure 3: EDI850/860 – Order List with a warning
Review order changes (Inbound 850/860)
Another unique advantage of the EDI 850/860 interface that is not available in standard M3 is the ability to compare and highlight differences between different order versions when customers commit changes to orders. For example, Figure 4 below highlights three types of changes made by the customer. The changes have been color-coded for easy identification.
Green: The customer has added the order line.
Red: The customer has deleted the order line.
Yellow: The customer has changed the value. Hovering over the value flagged in yellow shows its previous value.
Change information before posting to M3
Because the Fortude’s EDI Management Console allows holding EDI information, business users can update information such as Order Type before posting the order to M3. In standard M3, this ability is not provided.
Enable complex business logic validations
EDI management console also allows business users to validate order information against custom-developed complex business logics that are not offered in standard M3. The Fortude EDI Framework is prepackaged with prebuilt logics, but businesses can implement unique or industry-specific business rules as well.
Enhanced BODs to manage EDI 810/EDI 856/EDI 832
Infor M3 provides a standard set of business object documents (BODs) to manage several EDI outbound transaction types. But, businesses often have unique requirements that cannot be fulfilled by standard BODs.
The Fortude EDI Framework provides a set of custom-developed BODs to manage EDI 810, EDI 856, EDI 832, and several other industry-specific EDI transactions. For example, many customers need to consolidate Advanced Shipping Note (ASN) and Invoice transactions; the Fortude EDI Framework enables this key function out of the box.
Taking EDI order information to users
Once integrated, Infor M3 can do a lot more with business information through ION middleware. Built on ION, Ming.le can create EDI workflows and make business information social and more visible, allowing business users to collaborate and perform various actions on them. The Infor Go mobile app can notify users to respond to approval requests. ION can also connect business information with Infor Coleman Digital Assistant, a powerful artificial intelligence robot trained to read business data.