For some the syntax of EDI seems ancient. Something that was invented before the age of the internet just can’t be up to par and should be replaced! At Neksus, we have a slightly more subtle approach: is it really necessary to teach a new dog old tricks? Especially when the old dog performs well? Should you worry about this?
Numerous predictions foresee a growth of web-based standards and in particular XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language). Users would hurry away from older standards and rally around the new ones. So far this is not the case. Even Forrester Research has written articles indicating that rumors that EDI is on the decline are exaggerated. EDI has survived and is doing exceptionally well. In fact, Forrester predicts that EDI will remain the dominant protocol for the foreseeable future and will continue to grow. EDI traffic will increase in volume on a yearly basis.
The reason for the continued growth of EDI seems obvious: it works! The technology is mature and products and services are no longer scarce. Larger organizations have invested in it over many years and systems are up and running. Since the technology becomes more affordable, and thus in reach of smaller companies, EDI will continue to grow. Some retailers have seen a growth > 20% in traffics on a yearly basis over the last 10 years! Migrating technology would represent a large cost for companies most depending on it and would force partners to migrate as well. It would take a period to adjust and would bring the “growing pains” of any new implementation. Risky, costly, and for what?
All reasons for starting EDI in the first place are still valid today: quick, cheap, no errors. The internet era has not changed this. Would a new (XML) syntax bring many competitive advantages? Neksus feels there are advantages, but those are limited. To name an example: an XML message could easily have a 10-fold size comparing to an EDI message. Imagine what that could means in terms of bandwidth, processing and archiving! Obviously, the way EDI was done in the past is not the way it is handled today. The defined processes have become more elaborate. EDI offers this flexibility. If data elements are not exchanged today, they can be easily fit into the existing structure. In other words, there are no compelling reasons to switch to XML.
Data communication protocols (and related costs) have changed as well. Whereas in the beginning of the 90-ties all messages were exchanged by VAN (Value Added Network) and exchanges were paid by transaction, internet protocols like AS2 and (S)FTP have taken flight. VAN service providers have felt a decline and have changed pricing structures. Some even offer a simple “per kbyte” price, which has made the pricing much more transparent.
With this article, Neksus would like to clear out that EDI still matter. In the end, it’s in every company’s interest to ask the following question:”does EDI matter greatly to our business and will it improve our business outcome?
We believe it does and our solutions will prove it. We simplify the process of document exchange towards your business partners. Getting started with our solutions is very easy and no further investments in soft- and hardware are required. Any complexities will be dealt with by our specialists. Hook up to Neksus and you will be up and running quickly!