Great_integration-thumbOk, before I go anywhere with this post I will admit the title is a bit corny. All I ask is to grant me a little leniency with the obvious cheese simply because it hit me like a “eureka” moment and there was no way I could pass up the opportunity.  Now that the pink elephant has been addressed, I can get into one of the topics that I am most passionate about within the EDI industry – integration of EDI into an organization’s ERP system. In order to truly reap the benefits of EDI, integration is not an option but rather a necessity. Any other configuration relegates an EDI relationship to not much more than an email or fax machine which is in direct opposition to the core purpose of EDI.

erp_bigWhat would happen if a mid-size company replaced its ERP system from one brand to another? What are the effects on the EDI system? Yes it does happen, and integration never seems to be a “natural” where EDI and ERP fit together like they had the same mother! SAP IDOC comes the closest unless you find the right “mid-ware”.

 

ScheduleEntrySome organizations (especially Fortune 1000 companies) chose to use enterprise level job scheduling software (aka Workload automation) for all IT jobs not just EDI. The enterprise scheduling software is maintained by the IT operations team and includes dozens of other jobs in addition to EDI such as mainframe jobs, SAP jobs, PeopleSoft jobs and etc. The scheduling software has adapters installed on the servers where the jobs are actually executed and they run as a service. Then the operations team uses a client version of the software to set up the jobs and monitor them. Some examples of popular job schedulers (in no particular order) are Control-M, Tidal Enterprise Scheduler, BMC CONTROL-M, and IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler. There are a also half-a-dozen open-source job schedulers out there as well.

scheduleUnless an organization is starting jobs using an adhoc method, scheduling plays a major role in EDI implementations. Scheduling during EDI projects is unfortunately very often taken for granted. However, very frequently a lot of EDI jobs error out in their first few weeks of production because enough thought does not go into the scheduling process.

 

dashboard1There’s nothing necessarily new about dashboards – software that serves as a control panels for enterprise applications and provides high-level views of a variety of performance and data-intensive information. But what’s clear is their growing importance for supply chain managers.