Over the last twenty years, gains in technology have allowed many doors to open that were previously impenetrable such as instant worldwide communication, data transfer, and begun the road to a true worldwide marketplace. This explosion has not left the EDI department alone but has instead flung that proverbial door wide open so many different functional areas within an organization are intimately tied to the global EDI process.
No longer are our EDI departments required to have specialists in programming, communications, networking, and server infrastructure, but depending on the organization’s needs can also be manned by one or more customer service representatives. With the introduction of managed service, SaaS, and cloud solution providers, a company can tailor their involvement in the day to day EDI process to meet their specific budget and goals. As it has been said….”This is not your father’s EDI department” anymore.
Given the large number of possible department configurations, a major concern for any hiring manager is to find that special skill set that compliments the department’s structure. Typical questions could be:
- Do we need a person that has more experience in the technical realm, but has little experience in direct business practices such as the order to cash cycle?
- Does that person need to have a better grasp on the business process and less familiarity with segment structure and communication protocols?
- Or is our ERP system so complex that we need an expert in that system and we can train them on EDI and the business cycles?
The typical response would be “Yes Please” to all three if the hiring manager has little exposure to EDI, but finding that person may be more difficult than anticipated. A better strategy is to understand the organization’s EDI operations and target the skill set based off that.
For example, in an environment that is completely self sufficient complete with in house translation and communication packages, it would be most important to have that technical background that can navigate mapping specifications, AS2 certificates, and FTP connections. On the other hand, a company that operates within a SaaS or managed services environment will need less technical expertise and more experience with business process. That being said, rarely are there absolutes in the real world and most EDI environments are a hybrid utilizing some outsourced services as well as internal resources to make up the complete EDI package.