Electronic data interchange (EDI) has been adopted by businesses worldwide as the preferred means to exchange documents in a standard format in B2B transaction processes. Common examples of this interchange are purchase orders, advance ship notices (ASN), shipment status, invoices, and payment receipts. Although EDI offers many benefits, it is impossible to realize any of these benefits without integrating EDI transactions within your ERP system. The standard Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations or the more recent Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management ERP system does not have direct capabilities to send EDI messages. So, what do you do? This is where integrated, or embedded EDI can be used to manage EDI messages.
You can find many Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) in the market. However, every ISV vendor’s approach toward implementing the software is different. The two conventional methods used to implement EDI solutions are either an ‘Embedded’ or ‘Connected’ approach.
What is an Embedded or Integrated EDI solution?
Embedded software is written either in or on top of the application. It is fully integrated with your ERP, gives a better user experience, and gets data directly from the ERP system and vice-versa.
What is a Connected EDI solution?
A connected application is a separate software solution that is not integrated with the ERP. This application needs to pull data and updates from the ERP repeatedly.
Should you invest in an Embedded or Connected EDI Solution?
Wondering which solution would be right for your business? Our vote goes to the Embedded EDI Solution, and here’s why.
An embedded EDI solution optimizes not only your data transfer operations but also other business functions. It would enhance supply chain processes, logistics processes, vendor relationships, and customer relations. An embedded solution can fit well into the operations of organizations, across industry verticals.
At To-Increase, we offer a comprehensive solution, the EDI Studio, and our solution supports hundreds of clients to streamline their data exchange operations. Based on our experience of working with a diverse client pool, we have put together a list of reasons why an embedded or integrated EDI solution is the best solution for most businesses.
Here are a few advantages of an EDI solution integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365:
An integrated EDI solution automates the end-to-end EDI process. For instance, if you create a purchase or sales order, the user can confirm the document with just a few clicks. Also, the software recognizes if the vendor or customer is set up as a trading partner and subsequently triggers the right EDI message that needs to be delivered.
On the other hand, a connected solution needs to pull new information from the ERP system repeatedly.
A 360-degree overview
With an embedded solution, you can gain a complete overview of all trading partner information, contact details, history on sales orders, purchase orders, and EDI messages. The improved visibility of the process and data can help you keep track of the process and make informed decisions.
Even one error that might seem simple can have a ripple effect on the entire order processing cycle. For example, if a sales confirmation message has gotten lost or has not been imported in the trading partner’s software application, you can find the right message in the EDI history. You can search for the right EDI message with the order information or customer name to resend the correct data to your vendor. Thus, embedded EDI offers flexible troubleshooting features.
With a connected EDI solution, you can allow external applications to communicate with Microsoft Dynamics 365 through data entities along with OData or custom web services.
An integrated EDI solution can send queries for any data irrespective of the data entities or services that are part of the development.
For instance, To-Increase EDI Studio comes with a configuration feature that allows you to define the EDI documents. As a part of the setup, our solution also supplies templates that can be adapted to your specific industry. Therefore, you need not take the help of developers even to extend any existing data entities or add new data entities.
A connected solution pulls data according to a recurring schedule based on data entities with the OData protocol. However, currently, the OData queries on Microsoft Dynamics 365 are not the best way to handle huge volumes. This would hinder your data integration strategy. Though as per sources, OData and custom web service features can manage up to 1000 records per hour, it might not support your increasing business needs.
As an embedded solution can query for the correct data directly, it enables businesses with large transaction volumes to streamline their EDI operations efficiently.
With an embedded solution, you can manage your data compliance policies efficiently. Embedded solutions come with an add-on extension based on MS Dynamics 365. This will help you safeguard sensitive data about trading partners and orders.
A connected EDI solution may not have the same compliance measures as MS Dynamics 365 ERP system. This may compromise your solution’s compliance requirements.
An efficient EDI solution should stand the test of time and sustain future updates from Microsoft. For instance, To-Increase EDI Studio is entirely written in Microsoft Dynamics as an extension.
As we have only extended the solution and used configurable queries, future updates from Microsoft will not affect the functionality of the software. We have seen many changes in data entities, even significant replacements of the original order-related entities. These changes did not have an impact on any of our customers who use our EDI solution.
The To-Increase Advantage
To-Increase EDI Studio offers all the above benefits of an embedded EDI solution. Our solution allows you to configure on your own or connect with a value added network (VAN)/managed service provider (MSP), that could translate your messages to the right EDI format per trading partner. You can streamline your supply chain processes with our EDI Studio and foster overall business growth.
Careful thought and planning needs to be put into integrating EDI and ERP. An embedded EDI solution for Dynamics 365 offers multiple benefits: streamlined processes, improved customer relationships, and supply chain optimization.
Are you ready to get started with an embedded EDI solution? Download our free eBook on streamlining EDI in Dynamics 365 to learn more.