EDI vs. API debate

EDI vs. API
EDI vs. API

In my extensive research on wow APIs can leverage EDI, what really struck me is that most of the market players today are opposing those two technologies. “EDI vs. API” and “EDI or API?” are the kind of titles you will always find. Why is opposing those technologies that appear to be so complementary?

As far as I can say, we cannot modernize EDI without APIs. To put it in a nutshell, I can see three ways to modernize EDI platforms using APIs:

API-enabled EDI solutions: Without going into many technical details, Opening EDI solutions to REST APIs enables new mobile use-cases and fastens Internal DevOps Processes.  On the one hand, REST APIs makes the usage of custom mobile apps and Mobile Devices, on top of EDI solutions easy.

For instance, a custom mobile application can be developed in order to replace phone, fax or e-mail for processes such as receipt acknowledgment.  On the other hand, REST APIs accelerate Internal Dev Ops Processes in EDI by enabling automation of processes such as adding new trading partners, going from non-prod to prod, creating new maps.

On top of that, APIs can also be used to control and monitor EDI flows.

Interoperable API and EDI Gateways

APIs are adding a new communication channel to existing EDI solutions. In this case, not only do we have to deal with electronic documents, but we must be able to communicate with partners willing to exchange data and metadata through APIs and Microservices.

Here the challenge that relies on the ability to govern and manage two gateways (API and EDI). This is made a lot easier when the API and EDI Gateways are interoperable and when the EDI solution provides toolkits to deal with protocol specifications (e.g., AS2 for EDI) and Web Services Description Language specifications (WDLS for APIs).

Integration with SaaS Applications

Historically, B2B Integration solutions are built in order to bridge back-office applications and trading partners. As the technological landscape is changing, corporations are adding SaaS and Cloud Applications to this existing ecosystem, making the whole integration chain more and more complex.

Not only we need to make our back-office interoperable with partners back-office, but we also must bridge our cloud to our back-office, and to their cloud and back-office.

This requires more than opening REST APIs on an existing EDI solution. To achieve the end-to-end integration between back-office, partners, clouds and SaaS Application, a hybrid integration platform is required to modernize your EDI.

B2B Integration is a unique solution that combines a state-of-the-art EDI Gateway and hybrid integration functionalities in the same governed platform, with quick access to reusable SaaS adapters and the ability to build reusable costumed ones.

What is AS4, the bridge between API and EDI?

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