10 phases for the migration of an EDI platform
There can be many reasons...
I need to migrate my in-house EDI solution to a SaaS EDI platform, I can't find the service I need with my current EDI provider and want to try another one, my business is growing in other countries and my EDI platform needs to grow too...etc.
And also a lot of downtime...
I have dozens of applications connected to my EDI platform with in-house developments I see no way to move it to a SaaS service, EDI is vital in my daily operations I can't stop it to make a migration, I have thousands of providers connected to my current platform, how do I manage the new connectivity? ..etc.
In this article, we explain how you can approach your EDI migration project with agility and success, following project management planning that is divided into 10 phases. All are based on our own work methodology and collaborative management tools that have been developed from 30 years of experience in the implementation of large B2B projects for companies from different productive sectors.
10 phases for the migration of an EDI platform [Hide]
- Phase 1: Information analysis
- Phase 2: Definition of integration flows
- Phase 3: EDI platform configuration
- Phase 4: Integration with customer ERP
- Phase 5: EDICOM coordination with EDI partners
- Phase 6: Testing and validation of information transfer flows
- Phase 7: Business rules controls development
- Phase 8: User training
- Phase 9: Start-up and follow-up
- Phase 10: Project documentation
Phase 1: Information analysis
In the first phase of the project, a detailed analysis of the message flows described by the client will be carried out, defining the commercial and technical actions to be completed. This is a necessary preliminary step to evaluate the work to be done and to detect possible risks that may arise during the migration since it is considered essential to perform a migration that does not affect the daily operations of our customers.
Phase 2: Definition of integration flows
For each message flow, the tasks to be performed are the following:
- Definition of the specifications and documentation of the customer interface. The objective is to harmonize the interfaces as much as possible and not to use a different one per map.
- Support in the development of the interface data.
- Specific developments: Access to an intermediate data table or equivalence list if necessary.
- Definition of the message in the EDI platform.
- Development of integration processes by message type. - Verification test (syntax and semantics).
Phase 3: EDI platform configuration
EDICOM configures the different environments according to the customers' business architecture in line with their business organization.
An environment is configured for each business unit that centralizes the data transmission flows for that unit. However, the objective is to have a single connection to streamline the transfer of documents associated with all the different flows.
The environments will be configured in the EDICOM servers and for each environment, the sending frequency of messages sent or received, alarms, users, language, type of messages, protocols to be used, encryption mechanisms, and their corresponding actions must be configured. All messages per business partner will also be configured and tested.
EDICOM recommends the creation of a Test environment used for testing with business partners before going into production, and for mass mailings, and mapping checks, among others.
Phase 4: Integration with customer ERP
EDICOM's iPaaS application enables the integration of different ERP's or management systems with the EDI platform. Aspects such as language, time, or processes will determine the resources to be applied (project managers, consultants, or helpdesk).
Each procedure begins and ends with the transfer of files to the customer's internal system. EDICOM offers different alternatives for the communication channel, always taking security and availability into account. The file transfer must be tested before going into production, being mandatory to establish a robust connection.
In addition, a backup channel will be defined beforehand in case of contingencies with the primary channel.
Phase 5: Coordination with EDI partners
One of the most critical phases in coordination with each of the trading partners is establishing connectivity to the new EDI platform. It is necessary to define how and when the change must be notified, obviously in line with the migration strategy defined.
During this network migration, each partner must set up communications on its own platform, which may involve a gateway request, an AS2 Id change, or even a protocol change.
It is important to define a customized communications strategy according to the changes to be implemented by the partner, as well as coordination on the migration date. Everything is defined based on a migration planning staggered according to priority, defining controls for each migration group focused on detecting possible problems during start-up.
EDICOM has extensive experience and self-developed collaborative tools that streamline EDI onboarding management for its entire partner community.
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Phase 6: Testing and validation of information transfer flows
EDICOM develops control mechanisms to ensure the correct operation of the solution and compliance with the business rules agreed with customers. The aim is to ensure that migration processes do not impact the daily routine of companies.
For this reason, we establish the following:
- Confirmation that the integration procedure is producing the proper end file.
- Receiving a form of control message from a business partner over a length of time to check that all operations are functioning properly.
- If a message is not received or transmitted after multiple attempts or time, an issue analysis and solution ticket is opened to document the incidence.
- Receipt of an acknowledgment message on a previously transmitted message.
Phase 7: Business rules controls development
Specific controls are defined and developed in collaboration with the customer to detect potential events during the switch to production.
This form of control is very focused on our customers' business processes.
- Message controls (business unit, country company), business partner, and message departure and entry times. The platform will alert if, for instance, company 1 in France is required to receive purchase orders from a French business partner before 9 a.m.
- Follow-up of activity controls. For instance, alert users if a period has passed since the company or business unit generated outbound messages. This allows us to determine whether a specific business partner is now prepared in terms of communication definition after it has entered production.
Phase 8: User training
We create a training program with the client that includes lessons specific to the various user profiles:
- Administrator user
- Process management user
Our EDI platform is available as a SaaS, with information flows integrated with the client's internal management system, and with 24-hour support that, depending on the level of service, may include a dedicated technician.
Even though all of this enables completely transparent use of the application, specialized training is very helpful for users who are impacted by EDI exchange processes to understand how the processes work and to gain access to advanced functionalities of the platform that can help them improve their daily operations, such as statistics, alerts, etc.
Phase 9: Start-up and follow-up
EDICOM aids in the transition by guiding the user and monitoring processes through control mechanisms. In this sense, it is customary to include in these projects a time frame following the official launch (go live), during which our technicians will be checking the project's proper operation.
The platform's stability is guaranteed through the completion of all tests and integrations in sufficient quantities.
After passing all tests successfully, our technicians request the project closure.
After a project is completed, our International Support Center continues to provide service and support, assisting the client with any issues or lingering questions. With its EDI SaaS platform, EDICOM provides a type of customer support known as preferred service, which is distinguished by having access to a hotline and a specific technical contact within EDICOM.
Phase 10: Project documentation
In the documentation, we offer all the format requirements as well as the information found in the files that must be created or integrated for the structures to be fully defined.
Learn more about our EDI SaaS software's features
The EDI B2B2G communications software known as EDIWIN was created by EDICOM for the effective exchange of all business, logistical, and financial transactions of a sizable company.
To provide our customers with security, scalability, and traceability in communications with their partners, our EDI SaaS solution is constantly evolving.