The retail sector has been embracing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for more than 30 years now. It facilitates most of the business processes related to order, invoice, and dispatch advices. The technological advancements have further improved the application and user benefits of EDI in the retail sector. EDI vendors like B2BGateway are acting as catalysts for the implementation of EDI into the retail industry.
B2BGateway is a dedicated EDI provider and has been offering cost-effective, easy to use, cloud-based EDI solutions since the late 1990s. B2BGateway supports all US and International EDI Mapping formats including ANSI X-12, EDIFACT, Tradacom, Odette, XML, etc. as well as all accepted EDI transport protocols, including VAN, AS2, SMTP (E-mail), FTP, HTTP, Secure Socket, etc.
Journey of B2BGateway
B2BGateway was founded in Boston in the year 1999 as Shannon Systems, LLC, a software development company. In 2000, the organization developed an EDI solution which they called B2BGateway.
Offering EDI on a SaaS basis made EDI technology affordable, scalable, and available to all organizations, up to then EDI solutions were cumbersome, expensive, and predominantly available only to the Fortune 5000. As the popularity of the EDI solution grew, the company became known as B2BGateway doing business as Shannon Systems, LLC. Since its humble beginnings in Boston in 1999, B2BGateway has expanded to become a global EDI and automated supply chain solution provider with multiple offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and China.
Kevin Hoyle is the CEO of B2BGateway, and the person behind the company’s success and global expansion. Though Kevin’s background is not exactly what people would expect of a software company CEO.
As a kid, Kevin lacked the financial resources required to complete the college education in a regular manner. He started college on his personal savings, and although he worked full time while commuting to school, there was just never enough money to cover the tuition, books, and commute expenses. As such, he decided to “take a semester off,” which lasted eight years. During that time, Kevin worked through an assortment of several menial jobs at a time, in retail sales, carpentry, restaurants, bars, hotels, and grocery stores.
Eventually, Kevin found a job, which was the worst paying of all menial jobs, but it was a fortunate stroke of serendipity as it involved working with computers and they offered educational benefits. Kevin took the computer job and was eventually able to continue his education.
Kevin pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and also added a Masters in Information Systems Science and an MBA. Prior to founding B2BGateway, Kevin worked as a software programmer for many government and private sector organizations.
Evolution of Services with Evolving Technology
B2BGateway provides cloud-based EDI solutions which fully integrate with backend ERP and Accounting Software office systems. EDI has become highly popular in Retail and Distribution sectors over the years as it removes the need for the user to re-key data, thus saving costs and reducing errors.
As technology evolves, so does the B2BGateway product offering. They have embraced different means of transporting data and supported new and improved formats of data. Recently, B2BGateway has developed new channels of connectivity to support the move to APIs and developed the B2BGateway EDI Connect App to use with iOS, Android, and Windows mobile users. Most of the other new product development pipeline is designed to increase productivity in the ever-evolving technological environment.
Standing ahead of the Competition
B2BGateway is a ‘Modern EDI’ provider. The acronym EDI can conjure visions of old school computers and outdated formats. However, because of the absence of a more modern name, they continue to use the expression EDI to define all electronic data connectivity. It enables them to become an organization’s complete Supply Chain Communication Hub.
B2BGateway integrates their clients’ organization with not only their box store customers but also their 3PL, shopping cart, manufacturer, financial institution or any other organization, they wish to exchange electronic business data with. Using B2BGateway, clients also add a great deal of time-saving logic to their data processing.
Challenges Experienced with Growth
Like many other organizations that have expanded both domestically and internationally at a rapid pace, B2BGateway has experienced its fair share of challenges. To expand internationally they needed to learn other country’s customs and cultures and to adapt these into the overall business model, while at the same time not diluting quality or service of the product to the customer.
One of the greatest challenges in expanding in the North American home market is how to keep attracting the top locally grown talent. However, a wonderful HR department along with the company’s friendly culture has tackled this complication.
B2BGateway sees growth coming from many sectors, especially the SMB marketplace. Since the need for EDI has been mostly driven by the desire to drive down labor costs, there was never a big demand in the emerging markets. However, today the emerging markets are being pushed by the First World markets to embrace EDI technology to improve business accuracies, speed, and efficiencies.
Furthermore, the modern workforce is all about mobility. Through its cloud-based solutions and new EDI Apps, B2BGateway can support any organization that has its staff working in multiple regions. “Using B2BGateway technology, customers can access their EDI accounts 24/7 from any device in any region,” says Kevin.