Within the supplier network sector, there are many providers that like to dismiss EDI as a thing of the past. I can think of only a handful of smaller vendors in the new supplier network and e-invoicing guard are still supporting full-fledged direct materials connectivity with suppliers (and they’re doing so on a limited scale, typically without support for complex industry scenarios). The rest are just claiming EDI is dead without even really knowing what they’re taking about.
Well, let us proclaim that EDI is not dead – it has changed dramatically. And GXS/OpenText is living proof of the transformation. This is partly why we’ve included the provider in the Spend Matters 50/50 "know" list (see Providers to Watch and Providers to Know). GXS has a range of offerings today that are centered on supporting buyer/supplier connectivity including before and after the e-invoicing process. In other words, they’re not just e-invoicing connectivity alone.
GXS’s solutions go far beyond basic EDI and PO, beyond ASN and invoicing creation and interchange. They include significant capability for supporting transactional and collaboration scenarios involving consolidated/dealer invoicing, evaluated receipts settlement, rebates/chargebacks and other industry specific requirements in retail, manufacturing, high-tech, and other areas. Other capabilities include a surprisingly strong supplier management/on-boarding capability (gained from the acquisition of RollStream) as well as support for financial services and systems integration to enable trade financing support (e.g., in the apparel industry, where factoring is commonplace).
The more complicated the environment, the more GXS is at home (e.g., vendor managed inventory). And while we’re on the subject, let’s not forget their new home under the OpenText roof (GXS was previously owned by private equity investors but was recently acquired by the Canadian-based firm). For procurement and supply chain environments, OpenText adds additional related capabilities onto GXS as well – including support for unstructured data management and a highly integrated indirect-centric e-invoicing and OCR capability for SAP environments (which is still sold as a partner solution by SAP).
We’re excited to include GXS/OpenText in the 50/50 list, in part to show support for the need for procurement organizations to think much more about direct materials enablement, connectivity, visibility, and collaboration. With all the attention indirect-focused supplier networks and e-invoicing solutions are getting today, it’s about time companies paid more attention to supporting similar activities in the operations and manufacturing supply chain without just thinking about the plumbing and tools as “legacy EDI.”