Updated: Feb 23, 2022
Get the strategy right can save you money and time in the medium to long term. Get this wrong and you are then working through how to migrate from one solution to another which will add time, costs and complexity to any development work.
Since Covid 19 landed here in the UK in 2020 data integrations have become an important part to a business selling to other businesses (wholesaling) or selling directly to the end consumer (D2C).
Hybrid trading models
Historically EDI sat within the wholesale environment but now it is crossing into the eCommerce (ecom) environment as retailers look to extend their offering to their consumers. Drop Ship Vendor (DSV), ecom transactions now sit within the wholesale trading environment. This is a great example of how businesses are adapting to the changing retail landscape.
When defining how you want to work you need to consider your routes to market and the technology/infrastructure that you want to support in the early to medium term.
Prior to ecom being in the ascendance data integrations would not have been consider by what were two disparate departments within a business. The EDI department would have been working with their wholesale department integrating into their retailers that the supplier is working with.
The ecom team would of been focused on selling directly either on their own website or via third party marketplaces. We are now at a point where the two functions collide and can now consider how to get the most out of a data integration if you are just starting out or are looking to extend your offering.
For a business there is a large amount to consider in terms of technology. There are the internal systems and then additionally how to connect to the retailers that you want to sell to.
Referring to the diagram above there are two points that need to be considered: 1) Connecting to the retailers
2) Processing transactional data into and out of your
My focus in this article is connecting to the retailers. There are options available to you, however some retailers will dictate how to work with them. Possible options that could be used: 1) Telephone
3) EDI/Data integration
Possible EDI options
Don't walk away if you are asked to support EDI as there are options available: 1) Desktop solutions
2) Web portals
3) Managed services
4) EDI gateways
When considering the solutions that are being presented what one will grow with you. At present you might not be able to have a full end to end solution (retailers connected to your ERP), however you could could look to use a web portal that is supported by a Manged Service provider who than then integrate.
Please refer to upcoming blogs as I go into a little more detail on the topics I have touched on above.