Choosing an EDI provider is something you most likely will have to face at some point if you exchange business documents. Your EDI provider is responsible for a critical function of your business. It's important to ensure that you have a level of trust indicative of that significance. Before hiring an EDI provider, there are three big questions you should ask:
1. Who do I contact for support?
This is perhaps the most important. A well constructed EDI program should run itself but there will always be issues that come up. Your EDI provider should be able to respond to those issues promptly and confidently.
2. Do you have experience in my industry?
This is obvious. For example, if you are in the health care industry, you do not want a provider who has never worked with HIPAA EDI documents. And you should definitely get references.
3. How long before we are up and running?
Most of the time, a company is looking into EDI because they want to do business with another company who is requiring it. Or a current customer is requiring it. In these cases, you will have a deadline or then risk getting charge backs. If your provider cannot get you into production before your deadline, you should keep looking. Sometimes, however, the deadline means you need to be in testing by then, not necessarily in production. So it is always good to check what specifically needs to happen by the deadline.
There are certainly other deal breakers when you are shopping for an EDI solution, but these three will get you to a level of comfort where you can either continue the dialogue or move on.