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Shopping for an EDI software package

This is a very important step in the implementation of EDI.  This step informs several of your other decisions; hardware, additional software, staffing, etc.  Your previously identified data needs will also help to determine your software package.

When shopping for your EDI software package, make a check list of your requirements. Here are a few of the most common questions you’ll want to address in creating your list:

  1. Is it flexible?  If your data needs to be changed, how easily changes can be made to the software will be critical.
  2. Will you need additional hardware?  Your current hardware may not have the memory, storage, or speed required by the data needs and software package.
  3. Will you need additional software and/or programming?  Is the software flexible enough to integrate with your current system or is additional software required and/or do you need additional programming to integrate the data to/from your system?
  4. Will additional staff be required?  Do you already have staffing necessary for the programming of the software?
  5. Will additional training be required?  Chances are, if you are implementing a new software package then training will be required.  If so, what is the cost?
  6. Will it require on site personnel from the software company for installation?  If yes, is this cost part of the software purchase or is it an additional cost.
  7. What is the total cost of the software package?  Often this is a major factor on what software package you decide to purchase.

Once you have determined which software package will work best for your company you can put together the proposed budget of total cost including software, hardware, staffing, training, etc.  This will give you a good picture of what the total cost will be for implementation.

It is a good idea to have at least 2 different proposals put together: best case and acceptable scenarios, with justification for each.  This will give management a good idea of why you are proposing the purchase of a particular scenario.

What other tips would you follow when shopping for an EDI solution? 

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