The Battle has Ended: API vs EDI

November 23, 2017

Earlier this month at eyefortransport’s North American Logistics CIO Forum, a group of industry experts led by Eric Johnson, Technology Editor at American Shipper, debated the benefits and drawbacks of API vs EDI. Both legacy and modern technology leaders agreed that leveraging API connectivity is critical in keeping up with the pace of a world that demands not only speed and agility, but also a deep level of visibility.

For those of you who missed the panel or would appreciate a recap on the topic, we wanted to encapsulate some of the main panel points on how APIs are transforming the transportation industry today.

Key Technical Differences: API vs EDI

  • Real-Time Connection:  APIs transmit supply chain data in nanoseconds, resulting in real-time freight transportation management. For example, they allow you to automatically add your pickup requests into a carrier’s system to maximize on-time performance while eliminating time spent manually communicating requests.
  • Standardization of Data: Unlike EDI, APIs govern the type and format of calls, or communications, that any given application can make of another associated program. The associated program is agnostic about the source of the call, and the app need not know anything about the internal workings of the associated program.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: APIs are the foundation of scalable and robust applications. API architecture also allows you to modify and remove components without affecting other parts of a larger system.
  • Lower Cost: The integration of APIs is actually less costly and time-consuming than with EDI. EDIs require high operational costs for day-to-day maintenance, troubleshooting and translating. Whereas easy-to-deploy modern web services do not require expensive or complicated long-term maintenance. APIs allow you to eliminate the high cost of traditional base rate and transit time solutions.

The Bottom Line Value of Leveraging APIs

So what will APIs do for your business? Ultimately API adoption will lower your operating costs and increase your net income. They will allow you to grow customer satisfaction and loyalty, which is critical in any competitive market. In addition, they will advance your ability to capture market share quickly.

At this point, the reality is that too few companies are maximizing the monetary value of an API-first approach. To truly reap benefits of APIs in both the long and short term, supply chain and transportation enterprises need to think critically about how to best implement API connectivity.

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