B2B (Business-to-Business) data exchange has become a vital form of technology for countless businesses across the world. It has allowed for the quick and easy exchange of information between organisations without having to rely on outdated manual methods.

In its traditional form, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is a store and send technology that doesn’t allow for real-time communication between systems. But businesses are increasingly opting for cloud-based B2B solutions that are also able to provide real-time access to their other systems.

When it comes to data integration, constant innovations are being made to improve how it functions. Web API technology is enabling a more seamless and efficient way of enabling business applications to communicate.

What are API’s?

Application Programming Interfaces have become extremely common over the last decade or so, in no small part due to the explosion of social media. When you are given the option to sign into a particular service by using your Twitter/Facebook/Google+ account then API technology is being used.

It’s important to know that not all API’s work in the same way. There are public API’s, which allow certain types of data to be accessed from the outside world; and private API’s, which limit data access to an inside group. The amount and type of data that can be accessed also varies from one API to the next.

API’s provide a way for programs to communicate with each other in real time. A company can opt to leave part of their application open so that other applications are able to access it and securely retrieve information.

API’s have become increasingly popular amongst businesses who want to be able to create mutual benefits by allowing others to retrieve data from their systems in real time.

Why APIs are beneficial for EDI

API’s are particularly beneficial when integrated into EDI solutions since they enable faster and more accurate transmission of data between two parties.

As the need for closer integration becomes more popular, more service providers are looking to provide fully integrated solutions that enable business owners to accomplish different goals seamlessly. Through the use of web services, modern B2B applications are able to share data directly with ERP systems and 3PL’s (Third party logistics) seamlessly and in real-time.

NetEDI use web service technology that allows EDI functionality to be embedded within the ERP itself. Orders, Invoices, despatch notes etc. are linked directly into and out of the ERP meaning that the integration between NetEDI and external applications is seamless, fully transparent and auditable.

Tasks such as tracing document status and transmitting EDI messages can be done from within the external system whilst rendering data conversion obsolete at file level. Embedded EDI integration is currently available for Sage 50, Sage 200, Sage 500, Sage 1000 Exchequer, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, GP and AX with more being added.