EDI and API: Complements over Competition

By Logicbroker | May 22, 2018

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Democratizing digital commerce relies heavily on flexibility. Brands and retailers are exploring other means of connectivity and data exchange, but this does not mean a complete abandonment of the tried-and-true methods of old. EDI has been around since the 1960s and was heavily adopted in the 1980s, so it is safe to say EDI is here to stay. However, companies searching for an easier approach and immediate validation of files are seeking out EDI alternatives.

Enter APIs. APIs are easier to digest, boasting the ability to post/retrieve data with an immediate response and defined errors (if any). Logicbroker, specifically, built a platform around commerce document exchange by taking the API-first approach. With the goal of removing customers out of the intricacies of EDI and flat file transmission, we built a simple interface where clients can integrate with one API and have the ability to integrate with countless partners regardless of their integration format.


We have built a proprietary system for mapping documents, starting with a standardized data model of the essential commerce documents (based off of thousands of partners’ specifications). This included all standard documents: Purchase Order (850), Acknowledgement (855), Shipment (856), Invoice (810), and Inventory (846). We then created an algorithm that automatically maps EDI into our API model and vice versa, meaning there isn’t a different map for every partner, and all documents flow through the same pipe in uniformity. You can then plug in to any partner or system without worrying about any heavy lifting, and much like EDI, our other documents are also based around our API. There are standard formats for CSV, JSON, XML, and positional files, but we can also quickly map and configure to any format both inbound and outbound. Our mapping process is quick and intuitive for these document formats, and in most cases, a sample can be provided and mapped within minutes.

As APIs become more common, connecting applications becomes easier. With flexible integration options, brands and retailers are able to grow their businesses by meeting vendor’s requirements for communication, thus expanding their business network. Traditional (legacy) EDI provider often have the misconception that it is either EDI or API. This can be easily become a confusing matter for retailers and brands to force a decision. Our approach is not about a choice, it is rather about flexibility and options. Our partners can even have part of their data flow in EDI while having the other part through our API. A great technology solution will provide flexibility that works with your integration needs, which is why we believe in the right environment, API and EDI are two complementary technologies. APIs will never completely replace EDI, but rather APIs offer an easier way to leverage EDI communication. For more information please visit dev.logicbroker.com.