This global building products maker serving commercial and residential customers has been a Fortune 500 company for more than half a century—and a Remedi client since 1994. The long-term relationship is an example of the flexibility and willingness to evolve with the customer’s needs.
Working under a managed EDI and integration services agreement, a full-time team of three consultants from Remedi work on-site to manage, monitor, and maintain their EDI system and support more than 80 customers, 70 vendors, and 200 carriers.
As a manufacturer in a fiercely competitive global economy, the client needs to support a complex and ever-growing network of trading partners in 33 countries. With 24/7 revenue cycle document needs, it’s essential to maintain near 100% uptime in their EDI environment.
The Challenge: Migrate from Sterling Gentran to Sterling B2B Integrator While Maintaining Business Continuity
Trading partner support and compliance require fully supported EDI software in case a critical error emerges such as an interrupted communication process or faulty data translation.
While the client was experiencing no performance issues with their Gentran setup, IBM’s end of support announcement for the Gentran: Server for Unix version prompted the client to begin the search for a modern EDI solution.
Following a comprehensive discovery period, the client decided to migrate from Gentran to IBM Sterling B2B Integrator. Working with Remedi VP of Sales and Software Scott Hulme, they began to plan how to migrate from a legacy EDI application to a complete B2B integration and transformation suite.
With customers, vendors, and carriers across the globe, and billions of dollars in revenue flowing through their EDI system, the plan had to define the key action steps, dependencies, and workflows to ensure seamless business continuity during the migration.
For a business in which reputation and seamless delivery go hand in hand, the most important KPI for a migration of this scale was simple-- no reports of adverse impacts on or complaints from trading partners.
The Solution: Phased Migration to IBM Sterling B2B Integrator
For the migration, the Remedi team expanded to five EDI consultants. Remedi brought in an EDI solution architect to design the environment and direct the cut-over, and an EDI mapper to migrate approximately 165 maps.
To ensure a smooth transition, Remedi’s core on-site team, led by Dave McCray, prepared for the migration well in advance.
For example, the first item on McCray’s punch list was to upgrade all the client’s visual maps to AI (application integration) maps. This step was necessary due to compatibility requirements in the new Sterling Integrator environment.
From there, the team meticulously tested the new maps with existing transaction data to confirm the output was identical to the old maps prior to moving on to the implementation.
Results of Migrating from Gentran to Sterling Integrator
Overall, the migration proceeded without friction thanks to Remedi’s Architecture and Workflow Framework with pre-built libraries, business processes, reports, and other components. Leveraging these elements reduced by two-thirds the time required by Remedi to implement Sterling Integrator, compared to a traditional Sterling Integrator migration.
According to McCray, the most significant outcome was “The trading partners didn’t even notice the change. And that’s what our goal was.”
Beyond the migration, the long-time relationship between Remedi and the client continues to pay other important benefits.
Reduced administrative overhead
Remedi’s history with the client delivers more than goodwill. Thanks to project management and task matching built on trust and competence, the client now requires just one internal manager dedicated to the EDI environment, instead of the three who shared that responsibility before Remedi. Yet the company still controls their integration environment.
According to McCray, he and his fellow Remedi EDI consultants are more than an extension of the client’s EDI team. “We are her team,” McCray says.
It’s a team that needs little or no management involvement outside of project kick-off meetings. In turn, being confident enough to trust the daily management of their EDI infrastructure to Remedi frees the client to focus on other priorities.
Rapid response onboarding
A long relationship can breed complacency, a risk familiar to anyone who uses or provides managed EDI services. In Remedi’s case, the long tenure has fostered efficiency and creativity.
For example, where a new trading partner under a tight deadline may not yet have provided a full set of data requirements, McCray will begin with a generic map. This workaround helps to onboard the new trading partner on schedule. Later, McCray will fill in the gaps when he receives the missing specs.
As a result of their nimble and flexible problem-solving, McCray and the Remedi team have reduced the time frame for onboarding new trading partners from several weeks to a few days.
Elevated reputation among trading partners
Over the course of the relationship, McCray has how seen the real-time immediacy of digital commerce and communications have fueled customer expectations for speed and convenience.
“We can’t do that is not an acceptable answer,” says McCray. ”Our timelines are driven by the customer’s schedule, not necessarily what’s easiest for the client or my team.”
Even before the migration to Sterling Integrator, the efforts of Remedi’s team helped trading partners report the company as easy to work with. According to the client, “We know the Remedi folks are onboarding customers quickly and accurately because they’ve let us know how impressed they are.”
For McCray, a long, mutually rewarding managed EDI services relationship means never resting on your laurels or assuming you can’t be replaced. And, he adds, “Don’t be shy about suggesting improvements or proactively solving a minor issue before it becomes a major problem.”
Asked why the relationship with Remedi is well into its third decade, the client says, “We can rely on Remedi to perform upgrades, configure our system for maximizing efficiency, and aid in projects related to EDI, such as our application SAP system upgrades.”
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