Learn How to Supercharge Your EDI With RPA to Save Time and Money
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The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) market is expected to grow from USD 1.88 billion in 2022 to USD 4.04 billion by 2029. Many companies are already enjoying the benefits of EDI, including improved operational efficiency, increased accuracy, fewer errors, and enhanced visibility. But did you know your EDI could be even more potent with next-generation robotic process automation (RPA)?
What Is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)?
First things first, what exactly is an EDI? Put simply, EDI is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners (intercompany communication). EDI replaces postal mail, fax, email, and paper-based documents like traditional purchase orders and invoices.
EDI allows information to flow freely from a computer application in one company to a computer application in another, and pre-defined EDI standards determine the location and order of information in a document format. Essentially, EDI allows documents to be shared instantly rather than over hours, days, or weeks.
EDI With RPA - How RPA Saves Time and Money
RPA can help expand automation beyond conventional EDI's capabilities. For example, RPA can boost the Order-to-Cash system to allow business partners that lie outside of your EDI to experience the benefits of automation. Some smaller businesses may not have EDI capabilities, and this means they're locked out of your EDI system. As a result, you're stuck manually processing their transactions.
More generally, RPA bots can reduce the labor burden on back-office staff by handling many document processing and data entry tasks. For example, RPA can save workers' time by leveraging Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to extract data from images. This means data types that fall outside conventional EDI formats can still be processed without human input.
RPA can also copy and enter or transfer data between systems within the organization to ensure a single source of truth. This guarantees that information sent between companies doesn't suffer from inconsistencies or errors. Whatsmore, RPA tools can populate invoices using data from different sources and formats.
Automation can also help bridge gaps in your data systems, allowing older systems to communicate easily, regardless of their official integration capabilities. This means you don't have to rely on manual workers to update the EDI whenever you make changes to legacy software and databases.
When it comes down to it, RPA offers numerous benefits that supercharge existing technology and save time and money. For example, RPA tools read and extract data the same way every time, always copying text exactly as it is presented. This eliminates costly delays and bottlenecks from human error.
Equally important, automation tools can work on average 20 times faster than a human worker. These digital workers can work 24/7, don't get tired, don't take a vacation, and don't need breaks. This frees up employees to work on more creative or challenging tasks, while RPA bots take care of the time-consuming, repetitive tasks associated with EDIs.
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January 9, 2024