Does your office need an upgrade? Perhaps software that has been in use for over a decade and needs to be adapted to new security standards? Or maybe changes are in order in the area of business models and internal procedures? For many businesses, the most pressing reforms are connected with their electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions.
EDI is a model of communication that replaces paper-based documents, such as purchase orders, invoices, shipping notices, and payment details, by electronically transmitting the data between trading partners. This eliminates the need for manual work and limits error risk, which results in improved efficiency, accelerated inflow of information, and enhanced supply chain operations.
However, EDI technology is constantly changing. If you want to capitalise on its full potential, you may have to consider EDI migration. In that way, you’ll know you’re using the fastest and most up-to-date system for electronic data management. But how do you implement a EDI migration project without disrupting workflow in your business? Check out our short guide to handling the process with ease.
The challenges of EDI migration
Let’s start with potential obstacles and challenges to EDI migration. After all, adapting to a new system means a lot of learning and transitions – and your employees may not be ready for these. Engaging an external provider can be tricky, as they will not know your business needs and procedures as well as your own staff. A crafty EDI provider may also try to add extras that were not asked for, so it’s essential to evaluate exactly what the process will entail. Having said that, strong communication across teams will help businesses sail through various technical difficulties.
10 steps for seamless EDI migration
1. Clearly define migration targets such as achieving full compliance with the evolving legal requirements for e-invocating.
2. Identify gaps, limitations, and the current situation, especially evaluating business requirements, data formats, trading partner relationships, and internal processes.
3. Prepare an appropriate migration plan with a full definition of the scope and priorities, required resources, key milestones, and potential risks.
4. Engage stakeholders – involve all relevant stakeholders in the migration process, including IT teams and business units – especially those responsible for finance/accounting and the supply chain process, trading partners, and customers. Show them the benefits of EDI migration and motivate them to change.
5. Select an EDI solution and provider that meets your business needs.
6. Define the data mapping and transformation requirements for the migration. Ensure data integrity and accuracy during the migration process.
7. Take care of proper implementation, testing, and validation.
8. Train your staff and keep documentation up to date, including the mapping rules, integration guidelines and troubleshooting procedures.
9. Communicate the progress of your work, the changes that have taken place, and the stage you are at with the stakeholders.
10. Monitor and evaluate – after the migration, continuously check the performance and effectiveness of the new EDI system to see if it needs any upgrades or improvements.
The result of EDI migration
Navigating the EDI migration process is a complex task, as a business will need a detailed analysis of the situation, a clearly defined EDI migration plan, and a reliable partner with a portfolio of migration projects.
Despite the risks, digital transformation is definitely worth it. After switching from the old EDI to the new one, you gain improved security and can enjoy perks such as automated data exchange and reduced risk of human error. EDI also enables real-time (or close)exchange of data between trading partners, which accelerates transaction processing and reduces cycle times. This results in faster order fulfilment and response to customer inquiries. With the correct use of EDI, the entire supply chain of your business gets upgraded.
But that can only happen if you choose the right EDI provider. That’s why we recommend looking into Comarch – a software house offering state-of-the-art technology for electronic data management that has been helping companies worldwide optimise their workflow for over 20 years.
To learn more about Comarch and EDI migration processes, click here.
Prepared by: Data Exchange & Document Management Team at Comarch.