Photo appears courtesy of www.twin-loc.fr. Welcome to our 200th blog post! As I think about EDI through the years, I remember sometime during the early 1990’s taking a class on the structure and workings of XML. XML was all the rage and was supposed to replace EDI at any moment!!! It’s 20+ years later and yes, XML is widely adopted now in web service applications where systems talk to each other, but it’s really still the wild west with XML XSDs (XML Schema definitions) often inaccurate. And it involves a lot of back and forth with trading partners saying, “…oh, hard code this, and that XML element loop can be executed multiple times, not the once limitation in the XSD, etc. etc. etc.” Implementing XML with a new trading partner or transaction often feels like black magic to get it all working correctly, and that’s in the best of circumstances – usually it’s teams of technical and business staff on endless conference calls just to get it right. Did XML replace EDI? No.
Photo appears courtesy of Kevin Dooley. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” is what Roy Scheider famously said in the 1975 film Jaws. Of course, this is now a well-known euphemism for “we’re going to need more resources,” which brings us to a meeting three decades later.
Photo appears courtesy of John Lloyd. This blog was written by Michael Barnhouse of McAna EDI. For many years industrial process automation was accomplished with such inventions as the moving assembly line, and more recently robotics have been leveraged to further the automation of an inherently physical process. In today’s data rich internet era, process automation is not limited to the industrial process or viewed as an emerging technology, but a necessity for every business in determining how best to serve the customer. Business Process Automation (BPA) allows successful organizations to focus on developing key relationships and differentiating the value they deliver in the marketplace.
Photo appears courtesy of Mike Mozart. This blog was written by Aurora EDI Alliance partner, Jim Gonzalez. This is a question all companies should be asking themselves as we are moving in the direction of purchasing all goods online through mobile devices. How often do you go to the store to pick up something you ordered online? Grocery stores are moving to ordering online with the local store delivering to your home. Some stores - Walmart and Target come to mind - allow you to order online and pick up at the local store to save on shipping. This is due to Walmart and other major entities moving into other sectors they weren’t historically known for. Walmart was the go-to retail store for discount items just a decade ago. Now they are pushing to also be your discount everything from tires to iPads to tomatoes, and even offer additional discounts for ordering online with store pick-up. To further meet consumer demand, they are offering more items that are either organic or sourced sustainably or both. Think about it, if you stay stagnant, you will quickly become irrelevant in today’s competitive environment.
Photo appears courtesy of Airwaves1. This blog was written by Alliance partner, Karen Blood of GraceBlood LLC. Our company serves supply chain clients who operate their own on premises systems for handling EDI activity as well as clients who rely on our managed services for handling some or all such B2B activity. We’ve been exploring how best to leverage the latest technology to deliver useful, actionable information based on such activity directly to our clients. Lately, we’ve been dreaming about delivering dashboards, or at-a-glance views of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor important aspects of the business. Today’s tech is so powerful, today’s dreams quickly become tomorrow’s reality!
Photo appears courtesy of frankieleon. This blog was written by Kristen Kearns, EDI Manager for Aurora Technologies. Who else does this happen to? Mapping is done, VAN/AS2 connections are set up, you have gotten through testing with flying colors, and then you go-live and EVERYTHING falls apart. OK, perhaps I’m being overly dramatic….maybe not everything. Sometimes it is just a minor thing, but other times you are blindsided by a major problem!
Photo appears courtesy of Newtown grafitti. This blog was written by Art Douglas, member of the Aurora EDI Alliance. We have all heard some of the sayings of that wise American philosopher, Lawrence Peter Berra, aka Yogi. “It isn’t over ‘til it’s over,” and “You can observe a lot just by watching.” But my all-time favorite is, “Baseball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical.”
Yogi’s sayings make you think, and it made me think of a corollary to his math-challenged quote that is every bit as true: “EDI is 90% political, and the other half is technical.” Think about it. Once you’ve learned the basics of the technical part of EDI, nearly every challenge is political in nature. The CEO wants to know if EDI is so great that it runs automatically, why does he need to budget for a staff of even one to babysit it? Political. Here’s one I’m dealing with right now. The connectivity team at a giant health plan will only talk to one person at each of their trading partners firms. Technical? Nope, political. A new CIO comes in when the company is acquired and announces that he has a buddy who can program a custom EDI system so they don’t have to pay the annual maintenance on it. Definitely political. Another client brought in an EDI expert who helped them put together requirements for their new EDI system. Together they produced an RFQ and received several responses. Once all the responses were received, the managers got together and decided to purchase the most expensive package. The architect was not consulted. After two years, they abandoned that package and purchased the least expensive package. Ten years later, they’re still using it. Political? You think?
Photo appears courtesy of Todd Huffman. Data seems to be the be-all end-all of today’s business world. We have access to more data than ever before, but no one seems to know what to do with it. Enter Tableau. I spent three days in a Tableau class this summer to learn how to use this software package to discover interesting insights that can be found by analyzing data about a company’s customers and products. The Tableau software is a data visualization tool that allows you to explore and better understand your data and create insightful visuals and dashboard displays to help with decision making. Using the analytical tools and robust visualization the software contains can unveil trends, correlations and meaningful statistics that are not obvious by just looking at the raw data. Tableau also enables a story about the data to be told in a format that is interactive allowing for slicing and dicing of the data to answer questions from your audience during a presentation to reveal even more insights on the fly. This software is powerful and easy to use and is being utilized by many organizations to uncover a wealth of information from their data to help with decision making.
This blog, written by Liaison VP Gary Palgon, is reprinted with permission by Liaison Technologies. Much has been said and written about digital transformation and its benefits. But as companies that have embraced digital transformation continue to be analyzed and studied, patterns emerge and the positive impacts of digital transformation can be summarized into three major benefits: the transformation of business operations, the evolution of customer-centric organizations, and the revolution of business models.