30 years of EDI development

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As leading EDI (electronic data interchange) solutions provider, Data Interchange, celebrates its 30th year, it continues to look to the future. "Over the next few years, we expect to see developments that will recognise the link between e-invoicing and PEPPOL (Pan European Public Procurement Online)," said Ewan Friend, Managing Director of Data Interchange.

Today, Data Interchange is a multimillion pound business, providing mission-critical B2B integration solutions to some of the world's leading brands. It all started in 1986, with the creation of a five-person subsidiary inside of Perkins Engines and the vision of Philip Friend, the company's founder. He developed one of the very first EDI implementations for the automotive industry, enabling automotive OEMs and their suppliers to collaborate by automating the exchange of business information. The following year saw a successful management buyout by Janice and Philip Friend and many more electronic data transfer milestones followed.

Seeking to make the benefits of EDI technology available more widely, Data Interchange then launched an EDI order management for small automotive suppliers to help them trade with the automotive OEMs. The launch of the Dinet Integration Network in the late '90s became a vital part of the company and has seen massive growth, especially over the last decade, as businesses migrate from traditional, on-premises software to managed, cloud-based solutions. The company itself has expanded from five people in Peterborough to 85 people across six countries, with branches in Spain, Sweden, Germany, Poland and the USA.

More recently, the company has moved into the healthcare sector to help NHS trusts and their suppliers meet the requirements of the NHS e-Procurement strategy by establishing a PEPPOL-certified access point. The e-Procurement strategy will help achieve £1.5bn of procurement efficiencies across the NHS. The move to electronic transfer of documents in the NHS echoes the European-wide directive for standardised method of e-invoicing across the public sector and a supplier requirement to accept electronic invoices that comply with the European norm.

"EDI technology has changed dramatically over the last 30 years and will continue to do so," said Friend. "With our blend of deep experience and an exciting new generation of talent, Data Interchange continues looking forward, meeting the constant challenge of keeping pace with technology and expectations and delivering 'ahead of the game' EDI solutions that will give our customers an edge."

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