How Do I Choose the Best EDI?

K.C. Bruning

There are several factors to consider when choosing an electronic data interchange (EDI). Some of the most important include budget, business size, and specific needs. It can also be beneficial to consider the organization’s ability to support an EDI system before making a purchase. Many companies decide which electronic data interchange to buy based on which systems the companies they regularly communicate with use.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

Format is an important element to consider when choosing an electronic data interchange system. Some companies may purchase a version which uses software and must be integrated with the organization’s computer system. This is typically a good option for a larger company with a technical support staff. Companies that do not wish to download an EDI may use a web-based interface. This can be a better alternative for smaller organizations.

The needs of the companies with which an organization communicates is another factor to consider when choosing an EDI. Some companies have strict regulations as to the format and delivery methods used to transport documents. While electronic data interchanges tend to have a universal configuration, there are some details which may be specific to certain systems. A company may also see a system that is being used by a partner as a proven entity if it has shown to be beneficial for that business.

Budget is another factor to consider when searching for an EDI. In addition to start-up fees, the price of upgrades and maintenance are also important to keep in mind. It may also be useful to evaluate how much time technical staff will be spending with the product and estimate the financial impact.

An EDI’s interface is another important element to consider. This can be partly dependent upon the technical ability of the staff that is to use the system. More proficient employees may be willing to manage a complex system, while less technical professionals may desire a more user-friendly interface.

It can also be useful to consider how much and what kind of volume the electronic data exchange will be expected to handle. One important factor to consider is the average number of documents to be exchanged, from daily estimates to annual usage. The number of employees expected to use the system may also play a factor in the purchase decision. It may easier to use a web-interface if several people are expected to send documents.

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