Why a Managed Azure Integration Services Solution Makes Sense for EDI

Like many of us, you too may be a bit buzzword-weary when it comes to moving to the cloud” — after all, hasn’t everyone, well…moved to the cloud? When it comes to enterprise technology, you might be surprised to learn that there’s plenty of runway ahead.

Though on-premise tech­nolo­gies command a large portion of market share, more and more companies continue to evaluate and implement cloud-first strategies that favor moving mission-critical business tech­nolo­gies such as B2B messaging and supply chain integration into public cloud or hybrid cloud envi­ron­ments. According to Gartner, enterprise IT infra­struc­ture and software spending in the public cloud is set to overtake traditional IT spending by the year 2025.*

It follows that public cloud and enterprise technology providers are continuing to heavily invest in providing a path forward for their on-premise integration platform and middleware users to succeed through the use of cloud-based iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) and SaaS tools that exceed the capa­bil­i­ties of existing on-premise environments. 

In short: It’s goodbye for real this time, legacy software. We’ve moved on to cloud tools for good.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the move to a cloud-based managed EDI integration environment is a viable path forward for on-premise integration platform users. 

On-premise integration tools are no longer the best choice for starting new cloud-centric or cloud-first projects

The roadmap ahead is becoming more clear: With Microsoft’s increas­ingly robust recent releases of BizTalk Migrator, a tool that claims to assist users in a smooth and secure transition to Azure-based services, the writing may be on the wall that Microsoft’s expected path forward for on-premise BizTalk users is an eventual migration to Azure-based integration tools (and from the looks of it, as soon as feasibly possible). The continued development of cloud-based components that duplicate BizTalk func­tion­ality suggests a cloud-first path for projects requiring B2B messaging and data exchange. Simply put, investment in Azure Integration Services and its EDI-specific tools continues to grow after the announce­ment of the end of mainstream support for BizTalk Server 2020.

However, let’s be clear: It’s not as simple to move from your on-premise messaging to the cloud as it may seem. New development methods, testing and migration planning alongside keeping up with rapidly evolving tech­nolo­gies can be a lot to sign up for, not to mention the investment in human capital and DevOps methodologies. 

Managed Cloud EDI solutions present tangible benefits

Beyond just fulfilling a middle manager’s somewhat vague call to action of get into the cloud!”, cloud-first EDI and API integration solutions can present several operational benefits and simplify capital investment. Compared to a legacy on-premise or server-based EDI integration environment, a managed cloud EDI integration service eliminates the need for regular maintenance, patches and updates — your integration partner or service provider maintains the environment on a defined and continual basis with no hidden service, support or licensing fees.

Moreover, iPaaS enables an only pay for what you need” pricing model: As the B2B and EDI messaging volume rises or falls based on the underlying business, end users pay only for their actual use of the system. Cloud services billing tends to be more akin to that of a utility consumer subscrip­tion fee and varies with use, and it is certainly easier to digest than five or six figure annual licensing and support fees.

Finally, there’s security. You might think that your locked server closet down the hall is the safest way to keep critical customer data. However, cloud services are hosted in public cloud data centers subject to the strictest system and operational control standards and auditing. Plus, a wide variety of connec­tivity options such as AS2, SFTP, OFTP2 and others allow robust encryption and control over critical corporate data, a crucial part of secure business data exchange in times of the seemingly ever-present threat of cyber­at­tacks and enterprise security breaches.

Enterprise IT infra­struc­ture and software spending in the public cloud is set to overtake traditional IT spending by the year 2025.

Gartner Research

Porting maps from BizTalk directly to managed cloud EDI envi­ron­ments preserves original investments in development

The EDI branch of integration (which, contrary to the mania surrounding API-based integration, isn’t going away any time soon) has a reputation for being tedious and difficult, and the need to recreate existing inte­gra­tions or rebuild complex maps from scratch is often a hurdle for companies looking to migrate to newer cloud-based integration platforms. Some EDI providers— having already worked to duplicate or migrate BizTalk-native maps into traditional X12 EDI envi­ron­ments at scale — realize this, and as a result have leveraged iPaaS solutions that support the porting of existing XSLT maps into Azure Integration Services-based cloud EDI envi­ron­ments with minimal effort.

EDI-focused integration partners are already building managed enterprise integration solutions with Azure Integration Services

Some experts are already making it easy. EDI networks and integration providers such as Klein­schmidt are already building AIS-based EDI solutions that provide a path forward for companies using BizTalk to map, manage and orchestrate their EDI workflows both inside their business and with their trading partner communities. These solutions operate as standalone platforms that are fully managed EDI integration, translation and connec­tivity instances, or hybridized envi­ron­ments that utilize cloud-first tools to unite EDI and APIs across vast trading partner communities with wide ranging operational require­ments to exchange vital business data.

Continued investment in Azure integration solutions opens the door to new integration oppor­tu­ni­ties for not only traditional EDI, but modern APIs, blockchain and whatever else the future may bring. That investment, coupled with the vast expertise possessed by the tradi­tion­ally EDI-only integrators who are now utilizing cloud-first method­olo­gies to build more flexible, scalable and powerful integration envi­ron­ments, will ensure that solutions will be available when you are ready to make your move.

What’s Next?

Though the fate of on-premise integration platforms remains to be seen and the transition to cloud-first projects can be confusing and challenging, one thing is certain: The continued need for B2B integration through EDI and APIs. Kleinschmidt’s customer-centric solutions help to ensure a smooth transition of critical business messaging to the cloud, even as you maintain legacy func­tion­ality behind your corporate firewall. The end goal is not just to simply move existing processes to the cloud, but to help you to get a head start on a new era of integration technology while maintaining data throughput and reliability in day-to-day operations.

Manish Upadhyaya

Klein­schmidt Cloud Integration Architect

Reach Out to Learn More

Klein­schmidt builds EDI, API and B2B messaging integration solutions that enable companies of all sizes to exchange mission critical business data through integration with any trading partner imaginable. Kleinschmidt’s complex integration capa­bil­i­ties span all data formats, enterprise platforms, and industries, and offer full support for cloud, on-premise and emerging technologies. 

For more information, email Solutions@KleinschmidtInc.com


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