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Moving EDI to the Cloud – Part 2

Moving EDI to the cloud blog image

Do you need a partner for your journey in moving EDI to the cloud?

Author: Frank Oriold

In our last post, we explored some of the benefits and trade-offs of taking your on-premise EDI processing into the cloud. In this installment, we will take a deeper look into what that entails—whether you decide to go it alone or enlist a partner for that journey. Which is the better choice? Below are some questions to ask yourself.

Does your company have the knowledge and bandwidth to take on this challenge?

The answer is, it depends on how you’re migrating your infrastructure as well as the internal knowledge of your team.

Migrations can vary. You may perform more of a ‘lift and move’ of your infrastructure into a cloud IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) solution whereby you still ‘manage’ the hardware, operating system(s), anti-virus, and more. This option allows you to do more of a direct migration of your application and relieves you of the capital expense necessary to refresh hardware and maintain facilities as well as associated infrastructure. You are essentially leasing and cost-sharing that aspect of your operations.

On the other hand, if you are looking to build your next-generation application or run on third-party software that is approaching the end of life, you may be looking at a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) solution. A PaaS solution can take advantage of pre-built connectors, dynamic scaling, and other features that can provide additional flexibility and cost savings. However, this may require new skill sets and experience that you may not have today.

What are some other PaaS considerations?

If you are contemplating a PaaS solution you need to consider how well your team understands the ecosystem and associated application environment. You must also determine how critical are these applications to your business.

Many well-intentioned migration projects have gone over budget, past ambitious deadlines, or are scrapped altogether due to a failure to properly assess what was in the ‘black box.’ This frequently happens when important institutional knowledge and/or experience that was involved in creating those systems are no longer with the organization.

What’s your timeframe?

Time is money and your ecosystem is vital to your business. Impending deadlines may determine your approach to the migration. For example, are you a user of BizTalk, and facing the sunset of an integral part of your solution? Depending on what you have deployed, it could mean that your infrastructure is at immediate risk unless you perform an upgrade or take action. If you are running BizTalk 2020 on Windows 2016, you may still have several years to migrate, but it will be here before you know it!

I have the latest version of my system, why would I consider the cloud?

Even though you might be on the latest version of your inter-organizational middleware system (IOMS), it has been well established that no new features can be expected, and this ‘lifeline’ is simply to provide an additional runway for migrating to a new solution – preferably one that is based upon Azure Integration Services (AIS).

Going back to the BizTalk example, Microsoft has made a concerted effort to enrich its offerings to obtain feature parity with BizTalk, yet there are still some significant gaps to close for those who are accustomed to the functionality and capabilities that this mature platform provides. This adds another dimension to the scope of the problem for users of this system.

When should I consider working with a partner?

Every situation is unique. Key factors like moving to a new ERP, other ongoing cloud migration activities, as well as your organization’s economic outlook and long-term business strategies will impact your planning. Even if you do not intend to outsource your entire process, having a partner as a sounding board can give you a better perspective regarding the task that lies ahead. Simultaneously managing the data transformation aspects of EDI and corresponding trading partner relationships is difficult for some companies/organizations. The industry seems to be going through a period of transition between X12, direct APIs of various flavors, and other integration challenges that can pose a headache. Sometimes the best solution is to delegate these tasks to a knowledgeable data integration partner so you and your team can focus on your core business.

What’s next?

In our next installment, we will discuss our Azure journey from the perspective of what has been involved in trying to replicate a messaging platform that has provided nearly flawless execution for almost 40 years…

About the Author

Frank Oriold is Kleinschmidt’s Executive Vice President, Operations and Business Development. Before coming to Kleinschmidt, Frank served in multiple IT leadership roles across a variety of industries including IT consulting, financial services, and more. You can learn more about Frank and the rest of the Kleinschmidt leadership team by visiting the Leadership page here.