An EDI consultant is an EDI expert who can help your business maximize the use and value of electronic data interchange (EDI). Most companies hire an EDI consultant on a temporary basis when initially implementing EDI. However, some keep an EDI expert on retainer to manage their EDI systems.
Although we do not actively seek out new consulting clients, BOLD VAN can serve as an EDI consultant for your business. We have worked with thousands of businesses around the world in virtually every industry over the last three decades.
However, we have designed our EDI service so that you probably don’t need EDI consulting at all. Keep reading to find out if your business needs an EDI consultant.
CONSIDER YOUR EDI NEEDS
Before contacting an EDI consultant, figure out what you want to achieve and whether or not you even need consulting in the first place.
What does your business need to accomplish? Are you implementing EDI for the first time or making an upgrade to your current EDI system? Do you need to meet EDI compliance for a new trading partner?
If you are implementing EDI and hire a service like BOLD VAN as your EDI provider, you likely won’t need consulting because everything will already be taken care of for you. We will discuss this more in the next section.
If you already have an IT team that understands EDI or is willing to learn, you might only want to hire an EDI consultant to help them get started. Another common scenario is when a business needs to make a large EDI-related purchase, and they want advice from an expert before they invest a lot of money.
Businesses also hire EDI consultants when they have a problem with their EDI network that their IT team cannot solve. In this situation, the sooner you get an expert on the case, the better off your business will be.
IMPLEMENTING IN-HOUSE EDI VS OUTSOURCING EDI
Building an in-house EDI system requires several tasks that most businesses hire an EDI consultant to perform for them:
- Install and configure EDI software and hardware
- Onboard trading partners and test EDI transactions
- Do EDI translation and mapping for trading partner compliance
- Train in-house IT staff for ongoing EDI maintenance
An in-house EDI system costs significantly more money upfront than outsourcing, but the cost is worth it to many companies who simply prefer to do everything in-house. Otherwise, outsourcing EDI to an EDI service provider is usually more cost-effective.
Outsourcing EDI allows you to bypass the entire implementation process because all you need is an email address to get started and your EDI provider handles the rest. There is no large upfront investment, and you get to start using your EDI network sooner.
Plus, when you outsource to an EDI provider like BOLD VAN, you have a team of experienced EDI consultants that are just an email or phone call away if you ever have any questions or concerns.
ONGOING EDI SUPPORT AND EDI COMPLIANCE
If you decide to go the in-house route with EDI, you will still need ongoing support to keep your EDI systems maintained and up-to-date with the latest regulations. Plus, you will also need someone to do EDI compliance for you when you add new trading partners.
In this scenario, the alternative is either hiring an EDI professional or training a current IT employee to handle these tasks for you. Otherwise, it might be a smart idea to keep an EDI consultant on standby.
Of course, when you outsource your EDI to BOLD VAN, technical support and EDI compliance are included in your monthly rate. This may not seem like a big deal when you only have a few trading partners, but as your EDI network grows, EDI compliance becomes time-consuming and frustrating for those who lack EDI expertise.
With a great EDI service provider, EDI consulting is no longer necessary because everything you need is already included.