Photo appears courtesy of Brianna Lehman. This week's blog was written by Kim Zajehowski, Aurora's Manager of EDI Hosting. As a person who has worked in the EDI area for many years, I have learned that it is not an easy task to stay current and on top of all of your customer requirements at all times. Not only are your customers always enhancing their internal processes, but your organization may be doing the same. This has a direct effect on EDI trading partners and how they communicate EDI transactions, ticketing ramifications, and shipping requirements. There are also customer GS1-128/UCC-128/Carton Label requirements to follow, down to the size of the font used for the printed information, the format of where to put certain information, and bar coding specifications. If you don’t keep up with these changes, you will see a great number of compliance chargebacks. This can get quite expensive really fast and can end up with you having to pay for the orders placed to your company due to the issues. No net gain there.
This blog was written by Jim Gonzalez. Over the last 20 years I have been asked a lot of questions by customers and fellow peers about data integration. What I have found is that there are five questions that need to be answered and these are in no particular order. Of course, these questions can and often do lead to new questions. But if you can answer the following initial questions, you will may just stop going in circles and start on a path to success.
File Formats/Layouts to be Integrated:
Are you looking to deal with EDI, XML, CSV, Pipe delimited etc..? A lot of times you will just need to start off handling one format based on your initial engagement. It could be an internal engagement between one department or another. It could be an engagement between your company and a buyer. As I said earlier answering one question can lead into a lot of other questions. Please try to keep your focus on what is right in front of you or upcoming in the next couple of months, not what could be many years away. Long term goals need to be kept in mind while constructing a solution, but it’s easy to get sidetracked so it’s important to prioritize: now, one year from now, five years from now, etc.
How much can you afford to spend? Truly analyze that question and know your answer. You will need to have your software costs locked down and not variable. A huge piece that most people don’t take into full consideration is professional services. Professional services covers billable hours for software installation, map development, consulting and training. Don’t allow a company or consultant to give you a range of hours they don’t commit too. If you allow them to change the hour range when there is no increase in workload it can ruin the entire project. All companies and individuals need to be held accountable to the Statement of Work. You can’t change your mind and then expect the consultants to not change the hours required. Just as a consultant can’t change the hours required to complete a project because they didn’t account for all of your upfront requirements.
ROI (Return on Investment):
How many work hours are you saving? This can be hard to quantify but see this blog for more info on that. Also, would you be increasing revenue with customers? You have to factor in every value-add that data integration will bring. If you can pull it all together and effectively present to the upper level management, it will further your cause and help get your project approved. The more headaches that can be resolved and the less human intervention required will allow your company to accomplish its business goals.
Goals to be accomplished:
Was this mandated by a customer to continue doing business by using EDI or another format? Are you simply doing this to appease a disgruntled employee? Did upper level management hear of this new thing while at the latest conference? No matter how it came about, the bottom line is that you need to move forward with data integration. Keep a record of the successes you have accomplished as each process gets done. It will allow for a time line of events and can lead to more opportunities for data integration that you never even considered. I have implemented many systems over the years and resolved issues for clients who didn’t realize the issues existed.
On Premise or Hosted:
Can your current network handle the data integration? Do you need to purchase additional hardware? Do you have the staff to handle the support? How do you feel about another company hosting the hardware and software for you? Have you weighed the costs? The question of whether you’re better off with hosted or on-premise never has an easy answer and you will find everyone has an opinion. This usually is all preference based. My preference is to control the hardware and software in house. It is an investment that will pay off in the long run. Never allow yourself to get stuck in a short term solution that can’t grow with your organization.
My conclusion for all of this, is that you need to know what you want or at least have an idea. If you can come up with answers to the above questions, with proper guidance you will be able to construct an appropriate solution to meet your business objectives. Since you are reading this, rest assured you have found yourself the right group of partners that you can trust. A good consultant can bring his or her years of knowledge and experience to help you succeed. When I finish an implementation I feel an accomplishment that is unmatched. Reach out and let us know the pitfalls you have going on with your company! Take advantage of our no cost, no obligation consultation.
Photo appears courtesy of Les Roches Global Hospitality Education. I have spent many years implementing and supporting EDI solutions from Liaison Technologies with both private and public companies, including the military.
For your reading pleasure, we are reprinting our Thanksgiving blog. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving from the Aurora EDI Alliance!
We published this blog originally back in 2012. It still resonates today, so with the upcoming election, we thought we'd post it again. Much like our presidential candidates, EDI software, data integration packages and enterprise application integration (EAI) solutions make many promises but can they deliver? And more importantly, are we holding them to their promises? There are so many solutions available and for the most part organizations have the right idea when going through the process of choosing their solution. Where they fail is in execution and post implementation evaluation.
Picture appears courtesy of Asja Boros. Third in our greatest hits tradition comes an updated Greatest Hits list. This list represents the 20 most viewed blogs from the beginning. We found it fascinating to see how this list has evolved since we posted our first and second greatest hits lists back in 2014 and 2015. We appreciate all of our readers and invite you to let us know if there is a topic you'd like to see a blog on. We will do our best to accommodate. Without further ado, we give you, Aurora EDI Alliance's Greatest Hits Volume 3.
Photo appears courtesy of F Delventhal. This week's blog was written by Aurora Manager of EDI Hosting, Kim Zajehowski. Many of you probably know about the new requirements coming regarding SHA2 digital certificates. Before we discuss that, let's first look at SHA-1. What is SHA-1? According to Wikipedia, in cryptography, SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) is a cryptographic hash function designed by the United States National Security Agency and is a U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard published by the United States NIST. SHA-1 produces a 160-bit (20-byte) hash value known as a message digest. A SHA-1 hash value is typically rendered as a hexadecimal number, 40 digits long.
I’m reminded of the famous line from the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke: ”What we have here is a failure to communicate.” I have found that many newly EDI compliant companies, as well some EDI veterans, are not aware that there are multiple methods of sending and receiving EDI documents.
Picture appears courtesy of Michael Wifall. In March of 2012, I wrote a blog titled "No Purge Routine? Are You Becoming an e-Hoarder?" Now, in June of 2016 I find myself dealing with that topic and also with a pet peeve of mine, documentation of procedures and process steps. Let me explain why all of this popped up suddenly.
Photo appears courtesy of Nikki Tysoe. This blog was written by Kristen Kearns, Manager of EDI Services for Aurora Technologies. EDI Documentation - the one thing we love to hate, but MUST do. How do you run the inbound 850 process once the data is mapped? What are common issues that prevent 850s from automatically creating orders? What do you do if an 810 fails? What if an 856 fails?