25 November 2020
A brief history
A brief history of business to business purchase order, invoice and shipping notification data exchange.
Big companies have been exchanging purchase orders, invoices and shipping notifications using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) since the 1960s. Back then, a lot of companies would have bought their first computer just so they could use EDI with their trading partners. EDI document formats were very concise - consisting of data values separated by * or | characters.
Fast forward 30 years to the late 1990s when the internet first blossomed. B2B (business to business) exchanges were hot stocks and EDI was deemed inadequate to the task of transferring data between businesses in these exchanges. A company called Ariba developed cXML to handle the transfer of purchase orders, invoices and shipping notices between trading partners. cXML document formats are very verbose with structured XML markup tags separating the data elements.
Fast forward another 20 years and modern applications are using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to send data back and forth. Most of the data passed through APIs is in JSON format which is simpler and more concise than XML.
Despite the passage of 50 years, there are still lots of companies using EDI. And these companies need to trade with other companies that are using cXML or JSON APIs. These integrations tend to be time-consuming and expensive to build. Well, no longer.
Connecting it all together
Today, we are pleased to announce that Managed Functions can now exchange data between EDI, cXML and API sources.
Are you a Xero user who sells products to a large grocery chain? No problem. A managed function can connect Xero's API to your trading partner's EDI system and move data back and forth between the two systems.
Are you a manufacturer with an aging EDI system who needs to exchange data with customers using Microsoft Dynamics? No worries. A managed function can connect to your EDI system and exchange data with MS Dynamics.
Do you have a procurement system that uses cXML as it's primary way of sending purchase orders and receiving invoices and your suppliers only accept EDI or API connections? A managed function can connect your procurement system with suppliers who use EDI or APIs.
A typical integration project takes days rather than months. And, like all managed functions, the functions run serverlessly. This means that you don't bear the cost of running servers. The managed functions only exist when they are transferring data between you and your trading partners. And we can deploy the managed functions on our cloud or your cloud - whichever you prefer.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you.