What is our primary use case?
We use SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) as a service. While we were not really using their software, we might be using their software internally to provide a service. Effectively, we're using them as an integration partner.
We use SEEBURGER BIS for electronic data transmissions (EDI). It does a lot of work on our behalf in terms of the mapping and on some of the integrations which are required between us and third-parties.
We have an integrated ERP system which talks directly to the SEEBURGER systems. Therefore, we don't necessarily have any manual interaction since this is a completely automated system which talks to the SEEBURGER back-end systems.
How has it helped my organization?
What would have been a manual process of transmitting data items around between us and third-parties has been automated. SEEBURGER BIS handles the automation and mapping side of the communications. The automation, along with the efficiency around time and cost, has improved our organization. Around 20,000 messages a month have been automated. These typically would be financial/order transactions and confirmations in invoicing that have been automated.
What is most valuable?
The automation is the most valuable feature. We have full EDI automation through SEEBURGER BIS, which has been the biggest win for us. It removes the complexity and makes the process straightforward.
We have additional ad hoc development costs, but those vary depending on if we're bringing on another third-party into our systems via the EDI integration. So, that's highly variable.
What needs improvement?
The speed of development needs improvement. If you acquire any customization, it can be a slightly slow process. I would like to see more flexibility around customizations. The time frame right now depends on the sophistication and customization, but we have to go through a process of getting them to develop, implement, and test it. This might take a couple of weeks. If it was a simpler system to customize, the time could probably be cut by half or down by even 25 percent of what it would normally take.
For how long have I used the solution?
The organization has been using SEEBURGER for four to five years now. I have been using it for two years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is pretty good. It is rare that we have any stability issues.
The performance and operating efficiency are pretty good. We don't have any major issues in terms of operating efficiency, uptime, any failed transactions. If we do, they are generally not on SEEBURGER's end. They are usually on the other party's end. The service is pretty reliable.
We have about three people (an ICP analyst and two business analysts) who work on SEEBURGER BIS, but they don't work on it full-time.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven't encountered any scalability issues. Whenever we've added more components in or increased the volume of transactions, we have not had any issues.
There are about 30 organizations to whom we are connected via the SEEBURGER infrastructure.
We use it everyday, which will probably only increase. We don't have any concrete plans because this is dependent on our third-party customers, as well, and whether they have the infrastructures to support this type of development work. If they don't, then we won't. If they do, then we would. It also depends on return on investment. Some customers are more important than others.
How are customer service and technical support?
We have had no problems with tech support. Their response time and knowledge of issues is good.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We were not previously using another solution.
When SEEBURGER BIS came onboard, we changed our ERP systems so they were pretty much in parallel with that.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was before my time.
People who worked on the initial setup told me that the initial setup was pretty slick.
What about the implementation team?
We deal with SEEBURGER directly and they tend to do the development work on their systems for us. For recurring development work, they will do that on our behalf.
There are some third-parties involved who tend to be geographic specific and use different EDI formats. We are required in some cases when dealing with other parts of the world for EDI to go through a separate bureau. There's little we can do about that since it is just a data exchange format.
What was our ROI?
ROI comes back to automation. We are releasing people within our own organization to go and do more high value work. This is difficult to quantify for third-parties. Overall, it's an efficiency gain, which is the main driver behind return on investment.
The ROI for this is a very subjective thing to measure. We do have our own model for how we measure return on investment around things, like EDI transactions. However, it is not so simple model as providing a hard number.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Our licensing model is based on transactions. We have a base service contract which is priced against a volume of transactions and another volume of individual transactions, which are covered by one service agreement. Then, we have development services on top of that. Our annual spend is around £80,000. It's about mid-priced, as there are some cheaper alternatives out there and some more expensive ones. It's neither cheap nor expensive. It's somewhere in the middle.
What other advice do I have?
Do your technical homework carefully to ensure that it's the right solution for you, because all solutions are slightly different in various different ways. It depends on your own back office systems and how your communications would work. Do your due diligence on technical requirements.
The biggest requirement that we have is resilience and robustness of the systems. If they fail for any reason, there is a monetary cost to us. The biggest lesson that we have learned: If you partner closely with them, maintain the stability. If there are any issues, understand what those issues will be before they occur and before they would be able to potentially cause any problems. The reliability, resilience, and robustness of SEEBURGER's services are the most important things.
We have had good service and uptime, generally. The resilience is pretty good. We have not experienced any problems.
SEEBURGER is established. They have a long standing presence within the market. They appear to have been there for a considerable period of time. If we had to change our systems, that would be a big upheaval in terms of the amount of work and testing that we would have to do. It's not something that we want. We would be unlikely to partner with a company if we felt that their future was uncertain.
I think it is a good thing that SEEBURGER invests a high proportion of revenue into R&D rather than promoting brand awareness. Some companies have a huge marketing spend compared with their R&D. If they can support it, then great. For SEEBURGER, the R&D is important because they need to be resilient and responsive. They need to be delivering what their services should be providing. It is crucial for us that the R&D spend continues to be sufficient.
We have no plans to expand into their API management, MFT, eInvoicing, or IIoT services at the moment.