Author: Paul Kersey, Chief Technology Officer, Apisero
When it comes to the technology that powers your business, the difference between good and great can be the difference between stagnation and growth. Good is fine. It gets the job done, and it keeps your company afloat. But in today’s IT landscape, business leaders around the world are realizing they often need better-than-good technology to achieve the results they’re looking for.
Here’s the thing about great technology: it’s transformative. And that means it’s not generally an off-the-shelf solution you can buy and be blown away by on day one. There is likely potential for greatness, but the real magic comes from how that product, solution, or service enables and impacts your operations and workflows over time. Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a perfect example. Companies with large and complex partner ecosystems often rely heavily on EDI to maintain effective operations and supply chains.
Modernizing your partner ecosystem and EDI with powerful integrations can certainly unlock game-changing value for a business — but you need the right integration and the right kind of implementation to reap those benefits.
In my experience here at Apisero, MuleSoft Anypoint Partner Manager (APM) offers companies the opportunity to work with better-than-good technology that increases their capabilities, future-proofs their operations, and makes a truly great impact.
In this article, I’m going to explain why, share some of the experiences that have led me to become a champion for this solution, and explore what an implementation looks like in practice. If you’re someone looking for ways to revamp your company’s EDI and surrounding systems, I hope it’s insightful and helpful information.
Common pain points in EDI
Companies who rely on EDI to run their partner ecosystems face two key challenges. And both of these challenges are rooted in the inherent complexity of EDI systems. First is managing costs. Whether you need to develop new code every time you process a new kind of order, or you’re navigating the nuances of onboarding a brand new partner, making changes to legacy EDI is often slow and expensive.
For example, traditional point-to-point architectures severely limit repeatable or reusable code. So the processes for onboarding one partner might look completely different than another. And developing new processes and manual integrations for each new partner adds up quickly in terms of both time and cost. And it becomes even more costly if you’re outsourcing those changes to third party providers.
After managing costs, the second challenge is maintaining consistent and reliable customer service. Legacy EDI technology makes it difficult to deliver high-quality partner experiences due to lack of speed and transparency. Slow processes and buried data make partnerships significantly less efficient. And that loss in efficiency can translate to loss in revenue for both parties.
How MuleSoft Anypoint Partner Manager helps you overcome these obstacles
In many implementation projects with companies around the world, Apisero has configured MuleSoft APM to solve both of these pain points and kickstart long-term growth for partner ecosystems. When it comes to managing costs, this simplified, configuration-driven integration solution helps companies save time and money by introducing efficiencies and repeatable processes at scale. Whether on-prem or in the cloud, MuleSoft’s API technology and Anypoint Platform dramatically reduce the need for custom code. Less customization makes it easier and more cost effective to scale your business. It also integrates all of your EDI transactions to your ERP and other supporting systems in a reusable way to give leaders a clearer, more connected picture of the organization. These supporting systems may include industry and function-specific solutions including Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), AP/AR Finance systems, etc.
In terms of customer service and partner experience, the value of MuleSoft APM is dramatic. As part of the Salesforce family, MuleSoft puts customers/partners at the center of their technology. Automated transaction visibility, transaction replay, and easy-to-adopt capabilities specifically designed for partner ecosystems and EDIs give companies all the tools they need to drive loyalty and profitability in their partnerships. Plus, by unifying all of your partner relationships and transactions under the MuleSoft APM umbrella, you can easily track performance and surface data-driven insights that help you prioritize opportunities and drive further efficiency.
Meaningful progress for a global manufacturing company
Our team at Apisero recently worked with an industry-leading, international manufacturing company to improve the efficiency of the IT supporting their vast partner ecosystem. Before working with us, the company was facing the exact challenges we’ve already discussed. Their existing systems required highly customized code that slowed down production and caused delays in digital initiatives. It also hampered their ability to quickly onboard new partners, which made it difficult to keep up with their own rapid growth.
Our team worked with the client’s employees to understand their needs and operations, and identified the MuleSoft platform as the most value-driving solution. By implementing a variety of MuleSoft’s cloud-driven and API-powered technologies including Anypoint Partner Manager, Apisero helped the company move from manual code to configuration, and from heavy infrastructure costs to scalable growth. Common workflows like order-to-cash and procure-to-pay are now automated on the Anypoint Platform, and API-led connectivity is streamlining integrations with their Salesforce and SAP platforms. They’ve reduced their time-to-value in onboarding new partners, and they’ve set themselves up for future success.
Apisero is here to help
We can’t emphasize the value of incorporating EDI into your technology modernization strategy, especially because your partnerships and supply chains have huge implications and impact the health of your business. While migrating to an industry-leading platform like MuleSoft APM can dramatically improve cost management and customer service, that’s why it’s important to work with EDI experts who know your industry, are familiar with your workflows, and have experience with the latest technology. Rather than simply drag and drop your systems onto the MuleSoft platform, we’re committed to either training your teams to leverage the new tools effectively, or managing your EDI for you on an ongoing basis.
If you’re feeling the limitations of your legacy EDI, or you’d like to learn more about MuleSoft APM and Apisero’s implementation capabilities, we’d love to connect! Come and see us at Dreamforce or send us a message so we can learn more about your situation, set up a demo, and show you what truly great technology could do for your business.