Sooner or later, growing businesses that participate in supply chains will need to transmit and receive electronic data interchange (EDI) documents with trading partners. Many small manufacturers and distributors encounter EDI requirements when they connect with national distributors and retailers. Others need the accountability EDI brings to supplier arrangements.

Fortunately for companies who had the foresight to build their operations in the cloud, our SuiteCloud Developer Network partners provide complete, cloud-based EDI solutions. Here are four reasons why a cloud EDI platform makes sense:

1. Cloud EDI solutions are modular. Capabilities can be added progressively and organizations don't need to commit to a full rollout of the entire EDI toolkit at once. As new requirements such as site-to-store and drop-shipping become important to the business, a NetSuite cloud EDI partner can activate them.

2. Interfacing with third-party logistics (3PL) providers can help companies focus on their unique brand advantages while delivering best-in-class fulfillment to customers. Most 3PLs take their marching orders through EDI. Cloud EDI can help even smaller businesses compete on a level playing field with much larger companies by making it easy to speak the language of complex fulfillment.

3. Cloud EDI can provide more than just the basics of sales orders and shipping notices. Some NetSuite cloud EDI partners, including SPS Commerce, provide integrated partner management capabilities, as well as supplier delivery analysis. And because the solution is tightly integrated with the NetSuite cloud, the reports and insights available from these additional services are available to NetSuite dashboards and analytical tools.

4. Cloud EDI solutions are not subject to version lock and will evolve and grow over time as the trading markets of the future change. On-premise EDI solutions are fixed in time and can be inflexible and costly to update as new marketplaces and opportunities open.

SPS Commerce's cloud EDI solutions, combined with the NetSuite SuiteCloud, give any business access to thousands of 3PLs, carriers, suppliers, sourcing companies, factories and retailers worldwide, with a fraction of the deployment time of a typical EDI project. To learn more about how NetSuite and cloud EDI can benefit your business, learn how NetSuite and its partners work together.

-Raghu Gnanasekaran, Senior Director Business Development, NetSuite