EDI as a System

Building a cloud based EDI system has been a dream of mine for the past 7 years. I’ve grown passionate about providing a system for EDI through experiencing the pain my customers feel. It’s the feeling that repeatedly exposes the complexity of the problem and ability of our customer’s teams. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a quote like this from the CIO’s I work with. “We are technology professionals, we understand how to connect applications, EDI is a standard, why is building and managing the EDI environment so difficult with our ERP!”

Doppio Group, the Infor M3 focused services consulting firm I started in 2013, has given me the gift of both learning more about the real-life problems of customers handling EDI and the financial support to build the SaaS product designed to address these challenges. For the last two years, I’ve been focused on building Orderful to quell the frustrations of our customers.

There are three main problems with EDI that I am passionate about solving. First, is the ability to quickly service a system that requires immediate attention. Second, I want to remove the stress of managing EDI for our customers. Finally, I want to change the behavior of organizations who are accepting failure or complacency as common practice.

Everything we do is influenced with our customer’s experience at the front of decisions. The greatest companies in the world focus on the customer’s experience. Amazon, Nordstrom and Apple to name a few. You can’t argue with their willingness to perform for the customer. We are just as fanatical about customer service as these customer service masters. Support requests, problems, and questions arise often when we least expect it. Providing a scalable environment and service team that acts before the customer is aware that there is an issue is something that can’t be solved in the traditional on premise EDI model. Our customer service improves our customer’s customer service. Serving our customers in the cloud grants us immediate access to the integrations, forces us to build focused support tools and pushes our product to provide transparent access to information.

The acronym EDI introduces the feeling of stress to the hundreds of suppliers that I’ve spoken with. We are in the business of improving our customers lives through handling this technical complexity. When I’m talking with future or current customers of Doppio Group, I regularly hear about the challenges they face as a company. The way companies talk about their challenges suggests that EDI has been a source of frustration for years, without an end in sight. The frustration and stress experienced by these companies is similar to what you may have experienced during your last conversation with your internet service provider. They blow a lot of smoke and nothing changes. Whether I’m talking with a customer that has 20 trading partners or 1000, we hear the same theme. “EDI has been a challenge since we started trading. We have iterated a number of times and always end up with the same problems.” The challenge with EDI is not only the technical complexity. It is rooted in the human element of trading flat files and managing expectations across and organization when something doesn’t work out as planned. We are inspired to change our customer’s perspective on EDI. Orderful provides a service that focuses on changing human behavior.

Changing human behavior is achieved when there is a level of trust built with our users that Orderful will provide the information they need when they need it. EDI as a process has been around since before I was born. Organizations have adopted bad EDI habits over the last 30 years. Similar to how I continue to bite my nails even though I know it’s not a healthy habit, these behaviors have not changed over time. We grow to accept and live with our flaws. Handling EDI messages isn’t rocket science. It’s the simple transaction of passing data from one system to another.

The challenge over time with EDI has been that there isn’t an integrated system that is specific enough to solve the task specific problems. The market is saturated with toolboxes. In the Infor M3 space, we are handed a lightweight point to point XML integration tool called MEC. This tool wasn’t purposed for building a scalable EDI environment. Competitors out there like Mulesoft, Jitterbit, Microsoft’s SSIS, Infor’s latest middleware ION and hundreds of others that claim to have the capacity of handling EDI integrations. The challenge with all of these applications is that they will never be specific enough to the problems that need solved where they can change human behavior. Orderful exposes useful data to the end users and EDI controllers so humans don’t have to worry about same challenges they face today. Information is power, and Orderful is purposefully built to provide your team structure to manage the day-to-day and support future growth.

Orderful is purposed to influence our customer’s behavior. Every decision we as a team make when adding features, delivering material or implementing the software is focused on improving business for our customer. Through providing immediate service, insights into automated transactions and a platform of best practices for our customers, we will continue to see a positive shift in our customer’s business.

I’m excited to provide more updates and relevant material for those interested in bringing this aged, but crucial technology, into modern times. I will be posting here on Medium. Check out our website at www.orderful.io for anymore information. Finally, feel free to reach out to me at erik@orderful.io with any questions or a request for demo.

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