For decades, technical pundits and commentators have heralded the imminent arrival of the paperless office. There have been many technological advances in that time, but still, the day when computers would create a work environment that was streamlined and paper-free seems to be a distant vision for some.
The concept of the paperless office might appear as a purely ecological one; it would certainly allow organisations to help save the environment by cutting down fewer trees, creating less waste and freeing up office space from rows of filing cabinets, however, the drivers behind the concept of a paperless office are more likely to be the constant need to improve efficiencies, improve business processes and reduce overall costs. If we think of computers, data and processes, then we are thinking about EDI.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is commonly defined as the exchange of documents and business transactions in an approved standard or format between computer systems, minimising the need for manual intervention. EDI replaces paper-based documents and postal delivery services with Electronic documents and Data communications. This means that if two different organisations adhere to the same standards for the structure of their transaction data files and communications, they can exchange transactions electronically, wherever they are and whichever system they are using without the need for human intervention.
EDI provides two types of benefits to organisations that implement an EDI strategy: Direct and Indirect benefits.
The Direct benefits occur in the short term. For example, an organisation may make savings by requiring fewer resources to manually key in data, print documents, pay for envelopes, stamps and associated mailing costs. These are immediate benefits, but they are hardly revolutionary and their impact alone isn’t going to justify the costs incurred in implementing EDI. The Indirect benefits are realised in the longer term. These are much larger than the Direct benefits and are brought about as a result of the implementation of EDI and the change to a business process the EDI has been used to address. Often this means that the use of EDI has improved the process or business cycle by making it faster, more accurate, speeding up availability of data, improving communications, reducing manual tasks and realising savings over the previous process.
In Summary, when an organisation implements EDI it expects benefits in the following areas:
- Cost Reduction
- Increase speed of transaction communication
- Increase speed of transaction processing and data availability
- Improved Accuracy
- Improved Customer Satisfaction and Trading Partner relationships
- Improved Environmental footprint
Looking for more information? If we have inspired you with ideas and would like to see how using 454 can add value to your business or perhaps you have any questions, please get in touch with us. We’re looking forward to working with you!