For awhile your customers have been putting pressure on you to adopt EDI, and in fact there’s certain potential customers who just won’t work with you because you don’t have EDI.  So the time is now to make a decision on which to implement, online EDI or internet-based EDI.  How can you choose? Which is the better option for your company.

Online EDI vs Internet EDI

They do sound very similar but actually Online EDI (also know as Web EDI) and Internet-based EDI are different solutions for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).  They both have their advantages and disadvantages, so its worth reading up on these before you decide which route to take and then start considering providers.

Online or Web EDI is the SaaS solution to EDI.  You pay a monthly subscription to a browser or app based piece of software into which you log in and have access to your orders and other connected systems.  The big advantage of course of this option is that there’s no massive upfront cost, as the data is hosted on a cloud server, and you are renting the software monthly.

Another advantage of Online EDI is that the software providers have to keep the software as up to date as possible so that it integrates with ERP systems, accounting systems, and other EDI solutions.  If other major systems are updated, then the Online EDI software provider will ensure compliance so you have no down time. The same availability applies to their servers, they will try to ensure one hundred percent up time and also provide top level security so that your data is as secure as possible.

Online EDI is the easy route into EDI but of course it does have its disadvantages.  The first being that your subscription will have a data limit written into it. Should your data requirements go beyond that limit, you will have to start paying extra for extra data, just as you do with cell phone bills.  This can end up working out as a very expensive way of doing EDI if you start to have greater data requirements.

Another disadvantage of Online EDI is that data interchange isn’t always instant, there can be delays in the data being sent.  The reason for this is that to save money the software provider will often package data to save their costs. Because data is coming in from all of their customers, the data will be sorted and packaged based on where it needs to go, and therefore they will set a data exchange schedule for outgoing data, which may be at intervals several hours apart.  This can be problematic if you want to talk to a customer about live data as they may not be seeing the latest data you have.

Internet-based EDI on the other hand is hosted on your own servers and is software that is bought upfront.  So it has a much higher upfront cost, but can be scaled for your data needs.