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You Need the Luck o’ the Irish with EDI

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Photo appears courtesy of JD Hancock.

I would have to say implementing and running a successful EDI system is 35% exceptional EDI software, 55% experienced EDI consultants and 10% good old-fashioned luck.  So what can happen when you DON’T have the luck o’ the Irish?  Bad things, very bad things.  Here’s a list of some of those nightmares.  Watch out for those leprechauns – they can be very mischievous!

  1. What if your EDI consultant has a heart attack?  Well, then you are scrambling to find someone to replace him.  One such situation occurred recently with one of our consultants.  He got a call from a potential client who was scrambling to replace their EDI administrator who recently had a heart attack.  As luck would have it for us, (and since this consultant happened to be of Irish descent, he has the luck o’ the Irish), he was already familiar with the product they were using AND had previously worked with the client on other projects.  Don’t worry, the EDI Administrator is currently recovering and apparently is going be okay.
  2. This next catastrophe happened a few years ago with another client.  This client used our web-solution (Athena) to print their UCC-128 bar codes and they were scrambling this one Friday afternoon to get labels done when out of nowhere, their printer stopped working.  Those pesky leprechauns!  They got their labels done after going out to buy a new printer AND having to work on Saturday.
  3.  Another situation we have seen is when your EDI administrator abruptly leaves, and you have no idea what is what.  You always said you would “get around” creating documentation for your EDI system but that day never came and now you desperately need help.  Talk about rotten luck.  When that happened to our client, we rolled up our sleeves and delved into their system to make sure the EDI documents were all sent and received with no errors.  They brought in another consulting company to assist with the ERP interface as that was not documented either and had been developed by the EDI admin.  If you are a follower of our Blogs, I refer you to the blog Kristen Kearns wrote back in May about Documenting Your EDI Processes.  Kristen includes a great list of essential items to include in your documentation.
  4. One issue leprechauns often have a field day with is when software vendors don’t keep up with the latest security protocols (or they charge you exorbitantly to do so).  How many of you read our blog about SHA -1 and SHA-2?  This scenario might ring some bells for many of you.  Kohl’s has contacted you to let you know they expect you to be using SHA-2 digital certificates by April 1st.  Uh oh, your software doesn’t support SHA-2.  Or they do, but the upgrade is costly, and you already have your 2017 budget set.  However, if you have the luck o’ the Irish, then you are already using Liaison’s Delta/ECS EDI software and can easily support SHA-2 digital certificates.
  5.  Perhaps the most common problems we see happen are due to human error.  Now, some may say that is not bad luck but I disagree.  Sometimes you just have a bad day.  I asked my colleagues for their stories of situations that happened due to bad luck and one of the replies I got back said, “Permissions, permissions, permissions, permissions, permissions, permissions.”  If you don’t set the correct permissions when you are doing specific tasks, like installations, upgrades, applying patches, etc. you WILL run into major problems, and it WILL cost you hundreds of dollars in support.  Moral of the story – make sure you set the correct permissions for whatever task you are completing.  Don’t give the leprechauns an opportunity to sabotage you!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from GraceBlood!

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