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IT Business Analyst at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Helpful service desk, good support for process maps, it saves us time and boosts efficiency
Pros and Cons
  • "SEEBURGER has helped us to enable digital business transformation. Every time we add a new customer, there is a digital footprint. This is no longer a manual process."
  • "Java is very old technology and they should move away from it, to anything that's better."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use it for standard EDI practice forecasts, firms, ASNs, invoices, etc. We use everything here, including VDA, EDIFACT, and ANSI, but we are also now having our customers send us drawing files, and then we're sending them off to our engineers.

How has it helped my organization?

Our business has grown to have 14 major customers, which implies orders of greater than 200 parts per customer. If we include ship-to then we're probably talking closer to 50 new customers that have moved to EDI. I don't think we would have made it through the pandemic, to be honest, without this.

I have a tiny team in Spain that was entering every one of those requirements manually until we switched over to SEEBURGER, and then we could get them added pretty quickly. Now, for the first time in our history, we are adding Asian customers. Branches in India and China are starting to get EDI started, which has never happened before.

BIS provides me with everything in a unified platform and I haven't needed to add any third-party solutions. 

This product helps us to automate processes. Previously, we would have normally manually entered requirements and now, we just let it read them in automatically. As an example, just one customer with a 200 part requirement that goes out over 12 months would normally have taken my team two hours per week, just to enter the requirements. Now, it just happens and there is no work required at all from the team. In this regard, it has absolutely helped us to increase efficiency. 

At this point, automation hasn't led us to reduce the number of employees that we have. As such, I don't think that we've decreased any of our costs. 

SEEBURGER has helped us to enable digital business transformation. Every time we add a new customer, there is a digital footprint. This is no longer a manual process.

The fact that BIS is available in the cloud, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment is very important because it means that we could take from one to the other. That is amazing.

The product somewhat helps to future-proof our business. I can add new adapters, for example. We're strictly on EDI and I know that they have more offerings than that, but we have not moved past it yet. Certainly, they are not stopping with EDI, which is good.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for me is being able to make changes on-premises, without having to contact SEEBURGER. It allowed me to work on my timeframes, which is important because if I didn't hear back from a customer then it wasn't wasting SEEBURGER's time. I'm able to work more independently. 

What needs improvement?

The cost models have room for improvement. There are different licensing models between Europe and the USA, which is something that I don't understand. This is an aspect that needs to be improved.

Java is very old technology and they should move away from it, to anything that's better.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SEEBURGER since July 1st, 2017, four years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

With our on-premises implementation, we never had any issues with uptime or stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, I don't know of any limits for us, so there doesn't seem to be a problem.

At this point, we only have two users, although we need to enlarge that role. I am responsible for the customer setup, connection setup, and map design. My other colleague also does customer setup and communication setup, but no map design.

We plan on expanding our usage because we're going to start moving our Asian colleagues. As soon as we find a customer that's able to do EDI with them, we will turn it on. We're certainly increasing in that world.

We now approach every customer and look for EDI opportunities. Now that we've determined that we can handle receiving CAD-type drawings through it, we are going to send that to different plants. We certainly plan on using it more, and I know due to COVID, we've never experienced the number of customers asking us for EDIs as we are now.

How are customer service and technical support?

With respect to support, it's best-of-breed for me. I still get to work with my American counterparts at SEEBURGER, but my contract is in Europe. When I do need true support, I tend to get most of it from America, so that works in my time zone. Alternatively, when I use the service desk, it's support from the European side.

I like working with the SEEBURGER support. The service desk itself now has a chat, and that has saved me days because they answer the question right when I was on the phone with them, or on chat. That's been amazing. The service desk is always helpful. I'd say 95% of the time, I only have to use the service desk, which is included in our maintenance.

With my support in America, I have one particular person that the emails go to. Unless it's a big issue, he usually has an answer back out to me that day, so costing me far less than if it had to go to other areas. It's been a dream.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Everywhere in the world used something different before SEEBURGER.

In our American offices, we used TrustedLink, whereas, in Canada, we used Atos. In Europe, they used other packages. In Spain, for example, they used their own desktop version for EDI integration. We have also used SAP PI and others.

I don't know why we switched to the current solutions but it was done in conjunction with our SAP rollout.

How was the initial setup?

In this IT world, it would be classified as quite straightforward.

In America in 2017, we started with a cloud-based deployment. Since then, we have migrated everything to an on-premises server in Europe. At the time, we went with a single point of communication, so we were only using OFTP2 when we started. It was a single server install. 

When it comes to our mappings, we've gotten very complex, especially because we merged the two. It is relevant to note that we have a two-stage implementation. At first, when it was just for Germany, I don't know that it was classified as very complex. When it was just for the USA, it was not classified as very complex. But when you blended the two, we added a lot more complexity to our world. Every process is broken down as "Is this a US EDI or is this European EDI?"

Effectively, we doubled our complexity at that point.

I don't know the original German timeframe but for the US implementation, it took a little more than two months to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

For our first implementation, we asked SEEBURGER to do all of the work for us. I gave them all of my sample files, and all of my specs, and they took care of all of it for me. I concentrated on inbound first and then outbound, as per normal. After that, I would check the flow-through to see that the data went where I expected it to.

In that implementation, they did 75% of the work, and I only did 25% because I was rolling out SAP. I was in charge of two plants at the time, so I couldn't do EDI all by myself. All of the departments were rolled out and they did all of it for us. The support was perfect and it was exactly what I needed.

In 2018 or 2019, we moved back to an on-premises deployment. At that point, they were able to assign the connection guy to us and then one person for the maps. He took care of double-checking and finding a way to merge the current on-premises and our former cloud processes together for us.

At that point, I was able to assist a lot more because I could concentrate on the EDI, and I also had a colleague in Germany that could work with me. That time, it was more a 50/50 process, with us helping to deploy it. We started on January 1st, and we went live with that merge on April 1st. It was a little bit longer of an implementation move but we weren't as desperate for a start date. Overall, we had no issues moving from the cloud back to on-premises.

The US SEEBURGER staff were fantastic with the second one. When we found out that our implementation was not going to work on the German one, because somebody forgot to sign us up on our side, the American people stepped in. They were able to get me up and running with about two months of prep, and then a bit more because I needed them to help me more than they should have had to help me for the summer that year.

It is unheard of to get that many customers up and running as fast as they did for us.

I will be in charge of maintenance when it's time, but I will steal somebody from my operations IT team to assist me with that. Other than making new maps, to this point, there has been no real maintenance that we've been doing.

What was our ROI?

We do not have exact figures for ROI at the moment but the one example, where we take two hours per week down to zero, is priceless right now.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I wasn't involved in the contract negotiations, but I can say that we pay per site. It is based on the expected usage per month. I would like to find a way to change this and not pay per site because I don't want to pay for a site that has one EDI turned on, and pay the same amount for them.

We pay for a maximum number of setups, then we pay per customer map, and we pay maintenance on each one of those. BIS provides the flexibility to pay as you grow. The price of each customer map is €200 and the hourly rate for maintenance is fairly reasonable.

We budgeted for ten days of maintenance at €160 per hour, for a total of €12,000. We purchased the block so that we wouldn't have to pause our operations but we hardly use it. That contract started in 2019 and we've barely made a dent in it.

I highly recommend that people negotiate strong and hard on their customer map contract. I've decreased our European one in half, and I still will fight to get it down again. I prefer the pricing model out of the USA by far. There is a significant difference between these two pricing models, which is something that I don't understand.

As part of our monitoring, we run checks to see if we're close to where we expect to stay in terms of usage.

In addition, you have to buy each adaptor that you're going to use. These include OFTP2, AS2, SFTP, and others. I highly recommend that you figure out your market and pick the best one for your marketplace, instead of paying for all of them.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate other options in 2015, although I can't recall the names of the products.

What other advice do I have?

I am not running the most recent version because I don't have a test environment, so I don't want to upgrade and risk things breaking before I can test it. The plan is to move to version 6.7 in the fall, meaning that I'd be skipping a version. The most compelling reason to adopt the new version is the security. It has a higher security rating than the current one. Also, new tools are available that I want to take advantage of.

BIS could provide real-time data insight for our organization but at this time, we're not using it in that format.

At this point, using this solution has not helped us to decrease the time to market. We're probably too far out in the company to do that. I don't have any customers that are taking business faster because we can do EDI. In fact, most of my customers are the reason that we're not moving faster for EDI.

My advice for anybody who is implementing this product is to fully understand the differences between the on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid solutions. Also, start negotiating early, especially if you have to do your negotiating in Europe. In America, they're much more flexible. You should definitely start earlier than we did because we were far too late.

The biggest lesson that I learned when using this product had to do with designing my own process maps. It is important to learn the map DB system because you can make it very strong and it makes your life much more flexible. For example, you can have a colleague that never has to touch a design or make changes because you put it into a process map instead. They can just use it within a table and never open the designer. It's fabulous. I would concentrate on getting the most knowledge out of that as a could and in fact, it's still what I've written down for my self-design training sessions that I ask them to do for me.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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