Last week, we offered subscribers a deeper dive into a key lesson for leaving the pandemic in their rear-view mirrors with our post What Flexibility Looks Like After Covid-19. If you’re operating with legacy or close-to out of support supply chain communication and business integration tools, you’ll need to overcome functional limitations and process rigidity before you can experience flexibility in your workflows.
Which brings us to our next topic, the need to address the vulnerabilities of relying on last century’s EDI and integration tools, the latest installment in our series exploring how to move forward from and cope with sudden supply chain disruptions.
By the way, if you missed the kickoff article, catch up here.
What Do I Fix First?
For many of our clients experiencing challenges of legacy integration tools including unsupported, siloed, redundant, or overlapping systems knowing where to begin is the first order of business. Regardless of your business or industry, you’ll want to start with the gaps that caused the most pain.
In our experience, the pain we help clients relieve comes in three flavors with varying degrees of drag on efficiency and bottom lines:
- Inability to support an integration request from a trading partner or forced reliance on work-around solutions
- Limited or no end-to-end transaction visibility across partners from the transport, transformation, and ERP layers
- The cost and effort of supporting aging single purpose EDI, EAI, and MFT while managing friction between the operating systems, software, and integrators
The first step is to find and document the break points, black holes, and reoccurring issues that are limiting operations and costing your company money and come up with a remediation plan.
You don’t want to find yourself in an integration environment where you’re processing significant transaction volumes while running on unsupported software versions and encountering undue risk.
Also, it’s never wise to stop paying maintenance or support fees. This type of cost cutting is tempting during times of tight cash flow, but it can lead to cascading complications such as not being included on a critical patch or finding yourself ineligible for vendor support during a production down situation.
While we specialize in finding ways to reduce licensing fees and reduce man hours required to perform key functions, it’s even more important that we help our clients educate their stakeholders about the difference between trimming fat and cutting into bone when it comes to the people and technology that keeps data, revenue, and products flowing through their supply chains.
Accelerate Insight and Opportunities
To help non-IT colleagues and financial decision makers get their heads around the key elements in your current environment as well as the deficiencies that may be limiting your ability to pivot to and connect with new trading partners and selling channels, start with our free B2B Integration and Architecture Documentation Template.
By the way, if you’re hesitant about the number of gaps that may come to light in the analysis of your environment, don’t be. If you’d like assistance from folks that do this on a regular basis, ask about our integration health checks and audit assessments.
There may well be opportunities to utilize order to cash and procure to pay transactions for better visibility up and down the value chain, as well as accelerate revenue cycles. Likewise, we can often help clients find supply and demand chain visibility capabilities that supplement EDI and MFT solutions which can be built into the tools they currently have.
Lastly, know that legacy EDI and integration systems, while solid for years, are not being enhanced with new capabilities that expand visibility and promote agility.
While status quo may have been fine in the normal course of business, limitations in your current environment may leave you vulnerable to loss of revenue, customers, and reputation during the next normal.
What better time than right now to address them?