How to Begin Your Foray into EDI and Keep Costs in Check

by Jodi Abrams

Perhaps you have a customer that is mandating the exchange of EDI documents, you are looking for a way to increase efficiency in your operations or have been given an internal mandate to make use of EDI. No matter the driver, EDI can seem like a daunting undertaking.

Having someone in your corner who understand the ins and outs of EDI as it integrates into SAP is key to a successful first project. This can help set you on the path to growing your EDI footprint and ensuring you have a robust solution in place to handle that growth.

You will then need to select an EDI solution. There are many types to consider and many options within those categories. There are systems you install and manage in house, which are often time consuming and costly to setup, but still utilized by larger organizations who insist on ownership over their entire landscape and have yet to embrace the cloud. You can choose a cloud solution that you manage yourself, which would still require you to maintain that skillset and knowledge on your team. Or, you can choose a fully managed service solution. Even in that category they are not all equal.

What to look for in a managed service solution?

Managed service solutions can be confused with EDI Outsourcing. In a fully managed EDI scenario, your managed service provider will take care of everything possible for you, so the only thing left on your plate is providing some specific details of your individual business process, and approving provide testing results to move changes into production. Anything less than that, and you are not really outsourcing all of your EDI, but rather getting help with a few pieces along the way, leaving you still with the requirement of having an EDI resource on staff and maintaining that knowledge. For more on that, check out this blog on EDI Managed Service Solutions vs. Traditional EDI Outsourcing.

Consider the pricing structure of your solution. Is there a large up front purchase and implementation cost? If you simply have a requirement for 1 customer, or want to try it out, a $5-10K up front price tag is a lot to swallow. Consider a solution like Arcus with no up front costs for the solution or set up. You would only pay for the volume of transactions you actually use.

Whether you have an idea of what you want your EDI solution to look like, or simply need some advice to get there, CONTAX can help. Please reach out to us at

About the author: Jodi Abrams

Jodi is an expert in SAP and eCommerce integration, and is Vice President of Applications for CONTAX.