EDI and ERP migration: Critical considerations when replacing both systems

by | Jul 30, 2019

Organizations moving into the modern age tend to grapple with how to implement multi-system IT infrastructure. More specifically to the EDI industry, the grappling often occurs when it comes time to replace both EDI and ERP systems.

Natural questions include:  Which should we do first?  Should we replace it all at the same time, big-bang style? Do we have enough resources to manage these projects internally? Will vendor selection influence these questions?

SPS Commerce has a battle-tested point of view based on a solution that we regularly implement for enterprise clients called Fulfillment System Automation. In short, Fulfillment is full-service EDI with end-to-end integration technology that allows for transaction automation all the way into the ERP. It’s a major reason we almost always recommend starting with EDI system replacement first. Here’s why:

EDI Resource Re-enforcement

If you’re looking to replace your EDI system, you’re likely in one of two camps:  EDI is currently running in-house and it’s time to move to a reputable third-party provider because EDI isn’t going to be a core competency moving forward. Or, it isn’t working out with your current EDI vendor and you want to move to an industry leader.

In both cases you’re likely suffering from a lack of resources, whether it’s headcount or a lack of timely support from your vendor. Either way, signing on with a full-service provider will bolster the technical depth your organization needs to facilitate EDI while freeing up resources to focus on critical ERP migration tasks.

Multi-ERP Testing and Automation

Access to automation and integration technology from a vendor like SPS can be a huge variable in making a decision to take on EDI before an ERP migration. The SPS Fulfillment technology allows for direct integration into multiple ERPs and full automation of EDI transactions, which is significant on a couple of fronts.

Firstly, it will allow you to untangle EDI dependencies in the current ERP, thereby creating a logical first phase to project and a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of outsourcing EDI.

Secondly, when it’s time to parallel test transactions SPS will be able to deliver data into both the old and new systems simultaneously and provide the auditing and reporting needed to validate transaction success, resulting in a much smoother cutover.

EDI and ERP migration considerations when replacing both systems

Figure 1: An image of the System Automation for SAP workflow tree showing transaction delivery to multiple ERPs.

Keep EDI Complexity Out of the ERP

ERPs vary when it comes to EDI. SAP, for example, has decent out-of-the-box features. Oracle JD Edwards, meanwhile, requires you to build out functionality to get to a minimum viable EDI product, potentially leading to a heavily customized, home-grown solution – a must-avoid for staying flexible, nimble, and scalable in the future.

In any case, the best practice is to leave complexity out of the ERP and host it with your EDI provider (assuming they can handle it). Sourcing SPS to deploy System Automation technology comes with a team of ERP specific experts who build business rules to your specific processes and the dashboard and reporting tools to fill visibility and error handling gaps. Knowing the extent of the integration and automation capabilities and tools provided by your EDI vendor can help inform your ERP selection and the project scope.

Timing and Risk

Let’s face it, an ERP migration is fraught with risk and not for the faint of heart – after all, over 50% of all migrations fail. That said, migration is often necessary for growth and you’re only going to have one shot at it. Eliminating as much risk from the process by implementing EDI first is very important in this context.

Overall, there are many considerations when weighing replacement of ERP and EDI systems. Please contact us today for a demo and discussion on how Fulfillment can shore up your EDI resources, speed up your migration timeline, and set you up for a more successful, lower-risk ERP migration.

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SPS Commerce Blog Team

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