You say you “really don’t know clouds at all.” Are you asking “is cloud EDI right for my small business?”
Let’s remove the fluff and puffery from the discussion and take a look at the facts about why choosing an EDI cloud solution can be a sound decision. First let’s look at the pro side of the discussion for a cloud service that is a complete solution.
Pros of Cloud EDI
Cloud EDI solutions allow access from anywhere that has an internet connection. Your office staff and warehouse personnel can easily use the same secure system. If you use a 3PL (third party warehouse), access is provided for folks there too. Sales people working remotely can view orders and shipping notices.
You are probably considering EDI because your customers require EDI compliance. Every EDI customer has different EDI specifications. An experienced cloud EDI provider ensures that you benefit from their prior EDI software development and testing for each customer you need to have implemented.
A cloud solution allows you to grow your business by quickly and easily adding EDI customers as needed. Scaling by adding interfaces is facilitated by being able to interface with your accounting system, warehouse system, and any custom in-house systems you develop over time. An interface to your 3PL can be implemented as needed.
Pricing is scalable. Pay-as-you-go pricing means you only pay for what you use each month. You do not have to spend for large investments up front or commit to expensive on-going fixed costs.
No On-Premise Infrastructure
A cloud EDI solution takes the place of owning and maintaining hardware. You will not have to buy expensive EDI software and you will not have to buy, build or maintain complicated EDI maps as your customers change their requirements.
Staffing is not a risk because you will not have to employee staff or consultants with deep EDI knowledge. Your data is continually backed up. Cloud EDI solutions from reputable providers are serviced from secure data centers with redundant internet connections, buildings hardened against natural disasters, and independent backup power supplies.
Economies of scale
Cloud EDI solutions benefit from using the same EDI maps for multiple clients which is sometimes called a “multi-tenant architecture.” A specialized provider has large economies of scale and the ability to pass the cost savings through to clients.
I can’t think of any cons for small businesses using a cloud EDI solution as long as the provider has a complete solution. For large big-box retailers and industrial businesses that consider EDI expertise a strategic competency that they want to control on their own and evolve over time, then in-house EDI software and experts are probably the way to go. However, for small businesses that must meet the various EDI compliance requirements of their customers, a cloud EDI solution is very compelling.
Next step – if you are investigating a cloud EDI solution, make sure the EDI provider you are considering has a complete solution that fits your small company’s needs now, and your needs as you grow. Contact us anytime to find out more.I’ve Looked at Clouds from Both Sides Now: The Pros & Cons of Cloud EDI by Steve Brewer