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EDI Vs API: Supercharging Their Performance with Self-Service

EDI Vs API: Supercharging Their Performance with Self-Service

For years, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) solutions have been leveraged by a variety of industries, including retail, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, and others, to streamline their business transactions and provide strategic value in terms of revenue and brand image. 

Initially employed in the early 1970s, EDI served as the de facto standard for electronic data exchange across supply chains. Instead of having each business invent its own data layout for business documents such as invoices and purchase orders (POs), EDI offered a format that accommodated most business relationships. 

However, with data becoming more complex and technology advancing, the number of EDI infrastructure standards increased. Business users were forced to handle multiple versions of the standards. Not everyone could alter their EDI maps, which inhibited processing to a great extent. What’s more, the growth of optional fields and structures in an EDI document – loaded with all the fields, repeating loop structures, hierarchical levels, and so forth to support just about every possible business relationship on a purchase order document –complicated the process further, sabotaging customer experiences and causing them to turn to other organizations who were easier to do business with.


Business users relying on EDI Integration have to map received documents into other formats and map existing data from their applications and databases into an EDI format. This is a difficult way to drive exchange processes because it exists as an intermediary format between businesses. Also, as a business grows and its web services expand, it can have more than hundreds of such internal applications that exchange data with each other and its business partners. In such cases, it’s challenging for organizations to keep tabs on the EDI documents used, compromising integration processes.

To sum up:

  • EDI infrastructure and EDI integration involves too many standards.
  • Various standards bodies have developed “standard document formats” for EDI that can cause problems with cross-compatibility.
  • These standards bodies also push standards revisions annually, which can cause problems if you have a more recent version of a document than a trading partner.
  • EDI systems are costly, making them difficult for small businesses to implement.


Given these issues, many have organizations constructed APIs (application programming interfaces) to enable users support complex and customized information delivery value-chains that don’t fit into defined and standard EDI documents. However, even with APIs, there are challenges. The biggest challenge is that APIs involve a great deal of technical debt, especially during API versioning (much more than EDI, in fact) Plus, APIs fail to provide adequate visibility into data exchange and customer data exchange processes that can trigger agility and collaboration issues. 

In short,

  • APIs involve a lot of technical debt, especially during API versioning, impacting companies’ ease of doing business. 
  • APIs offer low-visibility into the exchange processes that can cause compound data quality and collaboration issues, thereby weakening customer experiences and ROI generation.
  • APIs imposes a burden on IT/ developers to execute complex API coding, upgrade API transactions, and execute complex data handling, impacting productivity.

So, neither EDI nor API enables a business user to harness the true data potential by building customer data integrations at the speed of business. Self-service integration solutions, on the other hand, can help users do that by empowering them with automated functionalities such as AI mapping, pre-built applications connectors, shared templates, interactive dashboards, and, more. Business users can rely on these next-gen solutions to leverage customer data, extract insights faster, and use the information to deliver delightful CXs. And during all this, IT can take the governance role and focus on other high-value tasks.

To learn more about how Adeptia can transform your data exchange process with its AI-driven self-service solution, contact us.