Questions to Consider Before Initiating An EDI Program

Learn what the important questions are before you begin an EDI program for your business.


  • Is the ability to better satisfy supplier, customer and/or vendor requirements important to your business?
  • Are an increasing number of your business partners deploying EDI? Are they pressuring you to become EDI-capable?
  • Is your business under pressure to improve business performance while controlling costs?
  • Would being EDI-enabled help you improve and shorten your time to market or increase your ability to enter new markets?
  • Would being EDI-enabled make you a more attractive proposition to new customers in existing or new markets, geographies, industry sectors? Level the playing field with bigger competitors?
  • Would more efficient Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivables positively affect your cash performance and the way you work with customers and suppliers?
  • Is sustainability and corporate social responsibility a growing issue for your business? Is a reduction in the amount of printing undertaken and paper used an area of focus for you?

About your business transactions

  • Which are your most paper-intensive business transactions?
  • Which of your business transactions involve the most business partners?
  • Which of your business transactions are most time-intensive or time-sensitive?
  • Which of your business transactions would most easily become EDI-capable?

About your partners

  • Which of your business partners have the highest volume of transactions?
  • Which business partners do you want to have a long-term relationship with?
  • Which of your business partners already use EDI? If they do, which EDI solution/network do they use?
  • Do your business partners have the right technical prerequisites for EDI?
  • If they are overseas, is the communications environment robust enough?

About implementing EDI

  • Do you have senior management buy-in for EDI?
  • Can you create a multi-discipline EDI Steering Committee?
  • Do you have the correct level of technical and business analysis experience in-house?
  • Will you develop your EDI system in-house or select a third-party EDI provider/VAN?
  • Which type of EDI is right for your business?
  • Will you need to train and support your business partners through the implementation process?
  • Do you have a chosen business partner to pilot the EDI implementation with?

About your EDI service provider/VAN

  • What are the business benefits of using one B2B/VAN provider?
  • Does the VAN provider have a global reach?
  • Are a number of your business partners already using the same VAN provider?
  • Does the VAN provider offer a range of value-added services, such as business partner on-boarding or advanced management information services?
  • Does it offer support and training options for you and your partners?
  • Is it a member of EDI industry organizations or international standards bodies?
  • Will the VAN provider give you a roadmap to show how it will remain at the technological forefront?
  • Can it offer flexible pricing models that best meet your business requirements?