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EDI Service Providers: What’s Working (And What Isn’t)

EDI Service Providers - Finding one that works for midmarket companies - Corsica Technologies

EDI is a legacy technology, but it’s far from dead. Numerous industries depend on it for processes as diverse as O2C (order to cash) and P2P (procure to pay), making EDI integration services a must-have.

But EDI is unlike any other technology. It’s very difficult to find IT or cybersecurity experts who also know EDI. (Hint: We bring all these disciplines together here at Corsica—but we’ll get to that.) Traditional EDI service providers claim to cover all their customers’ needs, but they often fall short due to a focus on product implementations and a lack of robust service delivery infrastructure.

In this post, we’ll examine what’s working in EDI services, what’s not working, and how companies can move forward. But first, a quick survey of general challenges in EDI.

What makes EDI hard?

What makes EDI hard?

Several key factors make EDI difficult for midmarket companies.

  • Yesterday’s right-sized solution is too small (or too big) for today.
  • It’s hard to hire (and retain) specialized EDI talent.
  • It can be cumbersome and time consuming to maintain integrations with multiple trading partners in a point-to-point architecture.
  • It’s hard to find quality services to support a VAN solution for a midsized company.
  • So-called “self-service” EDI integration solutions have many limitations requiring additional expertise or capabilities.  

The answer is to engage an EDI service provider to solve these challenges. But that’s not as simple as it sounds. Unfortunately, not all service providers compete at the same level.

The state of the EDI services market

EDI is a legacy technology, and the market hasn’t experienced significant disruption in some time. Most EDI service providers are product companies first and foremost, with services added on to support their customers.

Due to this structure, most service providers focus on selling implementations of their product. This is where they make their money—and they make a lot more with their biggest customers. When it comes to services, the big customers get the in-depth attention that every customer needs.

In other words, we often find that midmarket companies feel left behind by their EDI service providers. It’s not a hard rule, but it’s definitely a trend.

This is unfortunate—because EDI is an essential technology.

Here at Corsica, we’re working on fixing EDI services for midmarket companies. But we’ll cover that in a moment. First, let’s look at some EDI pain points that we see frequently.

EDI service providers - Common pain points

Common pain points with EDI service providers

Among companies that are being left behind, we hear about several pain points over and over. We believe these are symptoms of the way in which service providers have shifted their strategic focus to larger customers.

1. Broken integrations to backend systems

Organizations waste time and resources when EDI documents stop posting automatically to backend systems. The whole idea is to eliminate manual data entry, but application updates and Trading Partner updates can introduce changes that break translation maps and integrations. This leads to increasing exceptions, data errors, and manual follow-up with trading partners.

2. Lack of responsiveness from service providers

Midmarket companies occupy a tough spot in the EDI world. They absolutely need the technology, but due to their size, they don’t get the prioritization of larger customers. This creates longer ticket resolution times and a negative impact to revenue and operations. Ultimately, it can create a breakdown in trust between the organization and their service provider—or, worse yet, a breakdown in trust between the organization and their customers or suppliers when data flows and integrations are disrupted.

3. Nickel-and-diming approach to billing

EDI service providers love out-of-scope items. Whether you need to add a new field, update your data mapping, or add a new trading partner, it seems like service providers exist to extract revenue rather than act as a true partner. This is unfortunate, because the best way forward for EDI service providers is to seek mutual success with their clients. (Hint: That’s what we’re all about here at Corsica Technologies.)

4. Aging EDI solutions

It’s rare to find an EDI solution that was truly future-proofed at the time of implementation. Whether it’s a point-to-point system that’s becoming too bloated and complex, or a “self-service” solution that’s doing more harm than good, companies can outgrow their EDI solutions in many ways.

5. Increasing cost

As EDI service providers seek to maximize their profits, they tend to view midmarket customers as a cohort to be managed for profitability—rather than seeing individual customers and their unique needs. This leads to a rising cost of service without a corresponding increase in quality of service.  

Running better with tailored EDI services

Running better with robust, tailored EDI services

We could articulate the core problem two ways:

  1. Most EDI providers focus on selling a product, not delivering services.
  2. Most EDI providers focus on creating a great experience for their biggest customers, leaving midmarket companies behind.

It shouldn’t be this hard to succeed with EDI.

Here at Corsica Technologies, we’re changing the EDI services picture for midmarket organizations. We’re doing it by combining several things that no other service provider can offer:

  1. The robust service delivery operations, commitments, and infrastructure of a world-class MSP.
  2. Career experts in EDI who work alongside experts in IT and cybersecurity (as needed).
  3. Predictable monthly billing that covers field updates, mapping, new trading partners, and more.

The takeaway: You don’t have to suffer with poor EDI service

If your service provider has left you behind, consider finding a new way forward. Corsica Technologies is a full-service MSP with specialists in IT, cybersecurity, digital transformation, data integration, and EDI. Our goal is to make technology work for midmarket companies while empowering you to cut costs and serve customers better. Reach out to us today if you’re unsatisfied with your current EDI service provider.  

Want to learn more about EDI services?

Reach out to schedule a consultation with our EDI specialists.

Peter Rodenhauser
Peter is Corsica Technologies’ COO, with over 20 years’ of technology experience and a broad range of general industry and business knowledge. Prior to joining Corsica he has held leadership positions at industry leading organizations, most recently at OpenText. His expertise in diverse fields such as data integration, EDI, managed services, and professional services empowers him to make informed recommendations in numerous use cases. He has a strong passion for leading and building dynamic, energetic teams to design and deliver technology solutions with a focus on maximizing revenue and building long-term customer relationships.

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