Close this search box.
Kleinschmidt logo - blue and white

There’s a Monster Under Your Bed

Man hiding under covers

What's the IT project that's the monster under your bed?

Author: Lucy Smith

Businesses playing a role in the global supply chain have each selected the order, warehouse, business or transportation management system that is best for their business. Many have customized or even built their own tailor-made system that fits their business processes to a tee. But when they have to communicate with other companies? That takes a certain amount of magic—because the data each system accepts or distributes, as well as the pathway that the data takes can be quite different. 

Technology Roadmaps 

The IT department/leader in a company manages what is often referred to as their technology roadmap. If you haven’t heard this term before, it refers to the plan for budget, manpower and capabilities that stretches out short-term (1 year) to long-term (5 or even 7 years).  

It’s a bit of a juggling act. The IT department must keep systems running optimally, manage security and cybersecurity preparedness, make sure that all software applications and add-ons are working in harmony. They must also stay up to date as their trading partners push out a tsunami of enhancements and patches. All of these processes, in tandem, keep the magic working, and business running smoothly. 

If you’re an IT manager, give yourself a pat on the back—because you’re often the unsung hero who fends off disasters and solves the last-minute technology issues that pop up due to the different types of users throughout your business. 

So, What’s this Monster Under the Bed? 

Almost any IT leader will tell you that there’s a big, ugly project that they keep putting off, and are sometimes glad when the day-to-day technical dramas help them forget it for a bit. This is what I refer to as the “monster under the bed.”  

It’s a project that usually involves integration from one archaic software system that is core to the business to a new one that will increase efficiency. The cost of changing these systems is business disruption, solving a data manipulation puzzle, and loads of staff time. It’s challenging enough when the variables are under one corporate roof. When it’s a trading partner in the supply chain driving the request, suddenly it’s time to face your company’s monster as well as the trading partner’s monster, on a timeframe that you did not plan for in advance. 

If you have a new trading partner or an existing partner that has decided to prioritize an upgrade to a system that utilizes responsive API (Application Programming Interface) for a more dynamic business management environment, they will start sending you requests to upgrade your integrated messaging communications to JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format.  Your first reaction might be, “we don’t have time for this,” followed by, “our core systems don’t do this.” You might frantically study your technology roadmap to figure out how you are going to fit this project in to keep your company’s business with that partner flowing. 

A value-added network (VAN) such as Kleinschmidt, has experience translating your data to a trading partner’s preferred format—and their format back to you for return messaging, helping you handle this change with grace. Through what Kleinschmidt calls “any-to-any” connectivity, this data transformation and bidirectional messaging will be designed, implemented, tested, and monitored to ensure that your trading partner is getting what they need. When you are ready to face the monster under your own bed and upgrade a core business system, Kleinschmidt’s business analysts and consulting services can help you design and even implement new systems while minimizing disruption to your business and your trading partners.  

Note: Kleinschmidt has been supporting X12 to EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), CSV to EDI, X12 to JSON and myriad others to keep business communications running smoothly for over 40 years