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ERP-EDI integration: Partners rely on speed, flexibility

BAASS Business Solutions is partnering with trading partner connectivity specialist TrueCommerce to support customers who need core ERP-EDI integration.

There are market niches and niches within niches.

Take the case of midmarket ERP. While vendors such as SAP and Oracle dominate the enterprise ERP space, a host of software suppliers cater to the needs of smaller businesses. Vendors such as Epicor, Infor and Sage Group occupy this portion of the broader market for business software. But some midmarket ERP customers serve as suppliers to much larger companies -- big-box retailers, for example. Those companies may require their suppliers to conduct business via electronic data interchange (EDI), which lets businesses exchange documents electronically through a standardized messaging format.

Customers facing such demands need not only an ERP product, but an ERP-EDI integration that links trading partners with core business systems.

BAASS partners with TrueCommerce

BAASS Business Solutions Inc., a consulting firm based in Toronto, needed to tackle this niche within a niche for its small to midsize clients.

"Many times [EDI] is dictated to them, if they want to work with Walmart, noted Joe Arnone, president at BAASS.

BAASS specializes in the deployment of Sage midmarket ERP systems. Arnone said about 90% of the company's business focuses on the Sage 300 product for small to midsize customers. For those customers who also require ERP-EDI integration, BAASS now partners with TrueCommerce as its go-to solutions provider. TrueCommerce, based in Pittsburgh, makes trading partner connectivity and integration products.

Speed is important for ERP-EDI integration. Customers who are not currently on EDI may land a big sale or a big contract with a company that requires EDI transactions, Arnone explained.

Joe Arnone, president at BAASS Business SolutionsJoe Arnone

"They have to put in EDI as soon as possible in order to, basically, take on that business," he said.

Arnone said some customers may need to get EDI operational in two to four weeks, but noted the deadline pressure isn't usually an issue for BAASS or TrueCommerce. Customers, however, may not have the resources in place to move as quickly as they would like.

They have to put in EDI as soon as possible in order to, basically, take on that business.
Joe Arnonepresident, BAASS Business Solutions

"Usually, we are waiting for them," Arnone said.

In addition to speed, flexibility is an important consideration in EDI deployments.

Some customers want the EDI system to operate in a certain way, and sometimes that way runs counter to what's considered industry best practice, Arnone said. TrueCommerce, however, has proved to be flexible when it comes to meeting customer requirements, customizing its products beyond their out-of-the-box functionality, he noted.

"They have gone out of their way to really focus on the customer and ... what they need to do so the customer is successful," Arnone said.

In 2018, BAASS, in conjunction with TrueCommerce, plans to pursue more business in the wholesale, warehousing and distribution sectors. Arnone said he sees opportunities for BAASS in those markets, noting that companies need support to implement TrueCommerce and other offerings such as an inventory management product.

Table showing key issues in ERP-EDI integration
Channel partners face a few challenges in ERP-EDI integration

Beyond ERP-EDI integration

Haitham Ghadiry, vice president of sales and marketing at TrueCommerce, said partners like BAASS and other ERP resellers play a key role in bringing the company's technology to customers.

Haitham Ghadiry, vice president of sales and marketing at TrueCommerceHaitham Ghadiry

"The channel is at the core of our go-to-market strategy," he said, noting that the company's channel business is growing at a 20% clip year over year.

Ghadiry said TrueCommerce has expanded its offerings beyond EDI, providing an integration gateway that supports multiple sales channels. The company's gateway offers e-commerce integration, providing connections to B2B platforms, the Amazon Marketplace and custom B2C storefronts.

Omnichannel support has helped propel TrueCommerce's channel partner growth, Ghadiry said. He noted channel partners are looking for help with one-to-many or many-to-many trading partner integrations.

The integration gateway approach simplifies connectivity so partners "don't have to work with end users on four or five integrations just to process orders," he added.

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