May 18th, 2021

Recently, we have seen a number of developments in the business-to-business and business-to-government markets. Various in-market trends, technological advancements, and global events have majorly impacted trade, and, therefore, document exchange.

For starters, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is more important than ever to not only focus on strengthening the relationships you have built with your existing trading partners but to also get in on the right foot with new partners. Especially in competitive markets, a good relationship is absolutely critical.

We have also seen that technological developments like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming increasingly important when it comes to ensuring accuracy and future-proofing supply chain operations. Furthermore, the pandemic has (had) an impact on international business, and digital business is quickly becoming the new norm.

Here are three developments in EDI that aren’t to be missed:

1. Comprehensive (Automated) Onboarding Services  

As a business, you naturally look for ways to get the best results by spending as little as possible; we don't have to explain that to you. But when it comes to EDI, it is important not to get so caught up in saving money that it comes back to bite you—especially if you want to build sustainable relationships with your trading partners. This is why service providers, like TIE Kinetix, are beginning to offer comprehensive onboarding (automated) services, which is a major development.

Your partners’ success is your success. To streamline both procure-to-pay and order-to-cash processes, you need to be connected, and it’s better to invest in those connections from the start than to spend a lot of time on failed attempts.

Connecting your trading partners, also known as onboarding, is not always an easy process. Change is always difficult, so it is important to make the process as smooth as possible. We, along with our customers, realize this all too well. That is why our software developers are always working to optimize the process in a way that fits individual business needs and simultaneously provides the best possible experience for you and your trading partners.

In our spring 2021 release notes, we announced that we have implemented new technology for next-level onboarding process simplification. This ultimately means that less support is needed along the way and successful connections with trading partners are maximized. Overall, complications and errors are extremely reduced, and the process can even be automated entirely.

2. Application of AI and Machine Learning

You have probably heard of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), but if you have not, AI and ML are closely related smart technologies that have the ability to learn from experience and improve over time. When used in EDI instances, namely PDF conversion, there is a highly reduced need for human intervention. It is technology that we could have only dreamed of in the past!

Leading service providers, like TIE Kinetix, use AI and ML technologies in place of traditional Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to transform native PDF documents into an EDI or other format. While OCR can “read” documents, it is much less advanced and prone to errors because it is not capable of recognizing information that it has not seen before (e.g., if the date on an invoice is moved to a different location on the page).

AI and ML are much better at recognizing, transforming, and validating documents. Because of human-like responsiveness and ability to adapt, accuracy can be virtually guaranteed. For these reasons, TIE Kinetix is increasingly applying AI and ML to the FLOW platform and is already using these innovative technologies to convert PDFs with 100% accuracy.

3. Localization

The pandemic has (had) a major impact on international trade. Although we can finally see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, for over a year, it was not possible to hop on a plane to visit a trade show or enter into a new business relationship. Because of this, traders had to adopt digital methods to maintain international relationships and ensure networking continuity.

The urgency to achieve business as usual and, furthermore, sustain international trade, has accelerated digitalization, and EDI has played a huge role in this. To a large extent, digital business technologies have made the world smaller, and now, businesses everywhere have realized that they are actually saving a lot of money; it is not always necessary to be in the same location to get something done.  

That being said, digital technologies have connected trading partners around the world, opening the doors to new markets and lowering the entry threshold—especially for those with EDI capabilities. The reason for this is simple: EDI-enabled companies are easier to do business with. However, as trade in emerging markets, most notably Asia, continues to grow, it has become increasingly important that EDI solutions offer a localized experience for users.

In addition to ensuring full compliance with all local, international, and industry guidelines, it is important that you EDI solution provides an equal experience for all users. TIE Kinetix’s FLOW platform supports a wide variety of languages, and we continuously optimize in-portal translations. This enables your trading partners to access your company’s portal in their own language, which results in fewer document submission errors and significant time savings.