The EDI vs. API debate as ECS sees it? It’s a draw!


What’s the difference between EDI and API?

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) has been around for years and it is the original form of secure data exchange. It is mainly used to send large amounts of messages in a standardized and protected manner, from transmission to flow to the interpretation of the documents based on multiple standards. For a big business looking to take the headache and human error out of their logistical paper-shuffling operations, such as a transportation or shipping company, EDI is a proven solution.

API (Application Programming Interface) was created for digital communication in the Cloud and high-speed technology era. Ideal for real-time communication in B2B and B2C environments, where EDI can send messages in seconds, API sends messages in a few milliseconds. But with this increased speed does come a decrease in security due to unstandardized formats. Still, for companies exchanging large amounts of small transactions, like ecommerce sites, an API is the way to go.

What are the Benefits of EDI vs. API?

EDI technology ensures that your business is able to maintain communication across all supported EDI messaging protocols between internal and external business partners. By working with electronic documents rather than paper, companies save money and time as well as reduce processing errors and improve business relationships. EDI takes the pressure off of manual processes and personnel and frees time for other tasks. Businesses working on legacy systems appreciate the value of EDI now, but as everything continues to move to the Cloud, EDI will also need to transform to stay in the game.

For growing businesses or ones that are already global, the flexibility and efficiency of API technology is essential to maintaining high levels of communication. API is the basis for a digitally transformed supply chain meaning it has a lot of potential for the future. As a player in the Internet of Things, APIs based in the Cloud are rapidly replacing or working alongside EDI. Web-based API is easy to implement and offers more direct business interactions but does lack a bit when it comes to security and, even more important, standardization of message layouts.

How do you know which one is right for your business?

As we see it here at ECS, the choice depends on the needs of the business. The more traditional EDI still has its uses and is here to stay, at least for awhile. While APIs are geared towards the Cloud era, modern businesses may still need the services that EDI can provide, or they might not. Both technologies have the potential to transform your businesses into a more efficient, accurate and reliable entity.

Knowing exactly what you need to propel your business along the digital transformation journey is the best way to make it successful and stress free. Our experts can help you make the right decisions for your business and its future. Get in touch with us here!