API Integrations

API Integrations from
Data Interchange

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Global leaders depend on Data Interchange EDI solutions

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    API Integrations from Data Interchange

    Data integration is imperative to success in today’s interconnected business landscape. That’s why Data Interchange’s Value Added Network (VAN) DiNet combines Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Application Programming Interface (API) connectivity into a singular, streamlined ecosystem for handling B2B data exchange and integration. DiNet, a first-class VAN that offers simple integration with over 10,000 global business partners, offers API and EDI integration for document exchange across multiple standards and protocols.

    In addition to a cutting-edge modern suite of tools for EDI integration, DiNet utilises API’s such as REST and SOAP to maximise connectivity options, equipping businesses with a scalable platform that handles data transfer between internal and external systems.

    The result is a robust, powerful EDI solution ready to meet the demands of a fast-paced and competitive business environment.

    What is an API?

    APIs are sets of protocols and instructions that enable two or more applications to communicate, thereby facilitating the flow of data between two or more systems. Essentially, the API becomes the ‘middleman’ of a data transaction. For example, when you book a flight or hotel through a third-party booking gateway, an API will be used to retrieve data from the supplier’s database.

    APIs offer a reliable means to integrate businesses and their products and services, and have now become ubiquitous. A 2020 study found that 83% of business leaders saw API integration as critical to business success, and Gartner predicts that by 2023, roughly half of B2B transactions will be facilitated by API.

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    The benefits of API

    Investing in services that support API integration is key to modernisation, helping businesses become more agile and data-driven alongside a range of additional benefits. These include:

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    Accessibility:

    APIs have been absorbed into the IT curriculum, and most developers are familiar with how they work. Obtaining sufficient IT knowledge to integrate via API is straightforward, and the skills are readily available.

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    Automation:

    API calls are easy to automate, enabling businesses to create frictionless workflows that move data between their services and make previously-siloed systems ‘talk to each other’.

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    Support:

    APIs enable integration with numerous third-party tools such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management systems (WMS), and manufacturing execution systems (MES).

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    Quick implementation:

    APIs provide near-real-time data exchange, and once set up require minimal monitoring and maintenance.

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    Value proposition:

    Many businesses offer API integrations as a value proposition, advertising their credentials as a digitally-enabled business ready for collaboration and integration.

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    Scalability:

     APIs are scalable, enabling businesses and their systems to grow and expand over time. Building API-driven services helps network businesses with other scalable tools and platforms while reducing reliance on legacy infrastructure and architecture.

    API and EDI

    Like API, EDI aims to digitise data transfer — in that respect they fulfil similar roles. Both are data integration tools on some fundamental level and both are used heavily within supply chain businesses. However, API is more generalistic and EDI more industry-specific. When implemented correctly, EDI and API integration amplifies the strengths of both approaches.

    EDI has survived in the long term due to its capacity to evolve, which is why combining API with EDI is a logical step forward.

    EDI’s strength is its unique applicability to the industries it was designed for, simplifying the exchange of standard business documents.

    On the other hand, API is more flexible and isn’t uniquely applicable to any single industry.

    EDI brings long-term reliability and industry-specific methodologies to the table, whereas API handles rapid, real-time data exchange. Some businesses have already woven API into their EDI workflow — IBM reports that Amazon has been using API combined with EDI for over 10 years.

    While EDI remains central to supply chains and logistics, API plugs the connectivity gaps that EDI lacks and vice versa. Integration platforms like DiNet make it possible to integrate EDI into API interfaces, equipping businesses with the best of both data sharing and integration methodologies.

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    How does EDI work?

    After the mass-digitisation and globalisation of the late-80s and early-90s, EDI emerged as a software category designed to unify business partners under mutually agreed protocols and messaging standards. There is an enormous volume of data involved in B2B purchases. EDI streamlines the process of exchanging complex documents between parties, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

    EDI also simplifies the process of trading with global partners across multiple geographies and jurisdictions. For example, the UN developed the EDIFACT standard in the late 80s, which contains agreed data structures and syntax for business document transfer, helping facilitate frictionless trade. EDIFACT was approved by the International Organisation for Standardization in 1987.

    Besides EDIFACT, multiple EDI standards such as VDA, ANSI X12, and TRADACOMS were developed for business and trade in specific industries and/or jurisdictions, providing businesses with a robust method for transferring data digitally. EDI forgoes clunky paperwork in favour of computer-to-computer data exchange.

    To use EDI, a business connects to the EDI gateway or VAN, which facilitates a single, secure connection to a whole host of trading partners. Then, documents are translated into the specified EDI format and moved between business systems to the other. Once documents are received, the data is translated into internal formats.

    Modern EDI solutions feature intuitive UI dashboards that allow businesses to monitor document and data flow with audit and reporting tools, and EDI data can be made available to other SaaS and on-premises tools and platforms, preventing data siloing.

    How API enhances EDI

    80%

    80% of business leaders believe that data connectivity is critical to success

    63%

    63% intend to deploy cloud-based or hybrid integration solutions.

    Integrating Data Interchange’s cloud-based EDI-as-a-Service with API grants businesses an expanded selection of connectivity options.

    Using APIs, EDI data can be piped into enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management systems (WMS), and manufacturing execution systems (MES), creating automated data pipelines that drive efficiency and unlock insights for innovation. For example, EDI data can integrate to a WMS or ERP via API, auto-executing new orders when stock is low and then triggering a purchasing order (PO) for transfer via EDI

    EDI offers specific features for transferring business data via long-established standards and protocols. APIs integrate backend ERPs and other platforms into the EDI frontend, expanding their capabilities and functions.

    API offers more open-ended connectivity, connecting businesses to both external trading partners and internal business systems such as ERPs. APIs provide external integration with new trading partners and internal integrations between EDI and backend ERPs, WMS, etc.

    Combining EDI with API empowers businesses with cutting-edge internal and external data integration tools. The benefits include:

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    Enhanced flexibility:

    Data connectivity and integration grants flexibility to any business striving for data-driven innovation.

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    Improved visibility:

    A solution that keeps all EDI and API connectivity in one place gives end users maximum visibility over what is happening with its business critical documents.

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    Speed:

    API facilitates second-by-second data transfer, whereas EDI is batch-processed. API can perform tasks that EDI cannot — for example, API’s speed is critical in logistics, where shipping carriers require real-time updates to remain competitive. API modernisation is logical for an industry where speed is of the essence.

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    Increased simplicity:

    EDI is rigorous and specific, often requiring specialist knowledge and expertise. Conversely, API is open-ended, and the skills needed to use it are readily available.

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    Additional connectivity options:

    Modernising legacy and on-premises EDI with cloud-based options equipped with API unlocks competitive advantages. Gartner recommends that businesses use API to augment existing EDI business processes, providing them with a means of connecting back-end ERPs and WMS to front-end EDI.

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    Problem-solving:

    While EDI is an industry staple, API is adept at solving new problems. Suppose a trading partner requires real-time status updates of inventory status, payments received, goods shipped, etc. Unlike EDI, APIs can handle these types of problems.

    Cutting edge B2B integrations with Data Interchange

    B2B integration is imperative to success, and the pressure is on businesses to offer the connectivity required to compete with others while fostering collaboration.

    Data Interchange has been around since the early days of EDI, but our cutting-edge VAN, DiNet, has evolved with the times, and comes equipped with an easy-to-learn API that enables partners to perform common EDI functions via API.

    Fundamentally, DiNet is a class-leading Value Added Network (VAN) that enables businesses to share a single connection with over 10,000 of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers.

    DiNet also provides native support for all major EDI standards, including EDIFACT, PEPPOL, VDA, ANSI X12 and TRADACOMS, and protocols, including FTP, SFTP, OFTP/2 and AS2. DiNet features a quality web-based UI with built-in alerting, audits and reports — it’s powerful but intuitive.

    API and EDI integration brings DiNet to the next level, equipping businesses with the integration capabilities they need to thrive in today’s highly interconnected business landscape.

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