First of all you need to understand that an EDI web based solution isn’t the same thing as an Internet based EDI solution. They of course sound very similar and you may expect them to be the same thing but they describe two very different ways of exchange electronic data.
The Difference Between an EDI Web Based Solution and an Internet EDI Solution
If you could sum up the difference between an EDI web based solution and an Internet based EDI solution you would say that where you access the software is different and how the data is exchanged is different. With a web based solution the software is web browser based, and therefore the software is hosted on the web by the provider. You tend to pay, as you do for most software as a service (SAAS) products via monthly subscription. Its easier to use the software from any PC, laptop, tablet or even smartphone with just a simple log in. There are usually no upfront payments so it is a good starting point for a company requiring an EDI solution to connect to its business partners.
On the other hand an Internet EDI solution is the older way of purchasing software, whereby you license the software for each user and it is installed on every terminal where it is required. This means that you usually can’t access it remotely, and certainly not from a phone. The data is exchanged from the software on the users computer via the Internet using a third party Value Added Network (VAN) using a standard communication protocol such as SMTP or HTTPS.
The Advantages of Web Based EDI Solutions
Web Based EDI solutions have several advantages over Internet based EDI systems which tend to favor smaller organizations. First of all the entry point is much more affordable because all you pay for is a subscription per user per month, there is no investment upfront in software. Data is available in real time because it is on the server that you are accessing via the browser. Chargebacks for data usage and add ons are less than Internet systems because they are already built into the monthly fee, so the cost is more predictable
Disadvantages of Web Based EDI
However there are some disadvantages to Web Based EDI that should be realized upfront because they can limit the usage and longevity of the solution for some companies. The first consideration is security, that the security of the data and access to it is controlled by the software provider, so you are reliant on their security systems rather than your own.
A second factor is the cost of scaling the system as your data usage and number o users expands. Data is often charged at a variable rate so as your data usage grows your monthly bill grows, and as you add in more users to the system your monthly fees can grow exponentially. There isn’t this problem with Internet based EDI solutions because once you’ve bought the software the cost is covered, and you’re just paying for the third party VAN usage.