Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why Do SAP Customers Use B2B and EDI Exchanges?

I have had several conversations in the last week with SAP customers that use B2B and EDI Exchanges. Many of these companies have EDI and B2B experts on staff and have made significant investments in internal EDI systems, yet they are outsourcing much of their work to these exchanges. WHY?

Here are some of the reasons:
  1. They have acquired several new companies and need to integrate new customers and supply chains into their SAP or ERP system via EDI/B2B quickly. Their existing IT staff do not have the time nor resources to take on additional trading partner enablement projects.
  2. The company's supply chain partners are mostly connected with the Exchange already, so they can save money and integrate much quicker through the Exchange.
  3. It is time to renew maintenance agreements and/or upgrade their EDI system. The company does not like the EDI system and the cost is prohibitive. They would rather outsource EDI going forward and pay a fixed monthly charge.
  4. The original EDI experts have long ago left the company and EDI is viewed as a weak link or risk in the IT environment. They would rather put their EDI system in the hands of experts that will monitor, support and maintain it 7x24x365.
  5. Several companies would rather use an SAP centric EDI/B2B Exchange that tightly integrates with their existing SAP system, rather than an agnostic third party EDI system that is expensive and not part of their corporate IT strategy.
  6. Many times the experts that work at EDI/B2B exchanges like Crossgate can implement or on-board trading partners much quicker due to their experience levels, and often times they have already implemented with the trading partner and can reuse maps and messages.
  7. In the high tech industry - supplies chains and contract manufacturing partners change so often that companies would rather have these relationships managed by an EDI/B2B Exchange that can quickly on-board new partners and reuse existing maps and EDI or Rosettanet messages rather than hire more IT staff to keep up with the changes.
  8. The bottom line - many of these companies feel they can get better results, in shorter time frames and for less money by using B2B/EDI exchanges than by staffing up their internal EDI/B2B departments and investing in more and more EDI and B2B software systems, training, maintenance and support.
If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail please contact me.

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