EDI to Web Services

VANs shift EDI layer, writes InfoWorld:

In the long term, according to Stefan Overtfeldt, program director of WebSphere technical marketing at IBM, companies will switch to Web services because they are based on the simple concept of requests that incorporate XML and wait for results, and because EDI has an extensive vocabulary.

If companies can convert smaller suppliers to Web services as opposed to more manual, paper-based methods, the savings could be substantial, said Kimberly Knickle, an analyst at AMR Research in Boston. Typically, a company that has EDI in place is using it with 20 percent of its supplier base, she said. However, the company often purchases the lion’s share of its goods from those remaining 80 percent of its supply base, she added.

Ingram Micro, a global IT distribution company based in Santa Ana, Calif., is finding that more smaller solutions partners want to use Web services for connectivity, said Guy Abramo, chief strategy and information officer.

Today, Ingram connects mostly via FTP, Excel spreadsheets, and Word documents.

“We’re start to look at things like wrapping XML-translated messages that might communicate with standard accounting packages … that a small company may use,” Abramo said. “These are small businesses that typically have a back office function of three people. They will want acknowledgement of the order and acknowledge[ment] of shipment. That is a large part of what we may be doing in the next couple of years.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.