For nearly thirty years, companies worldwide have been using EDI to electronically exchange data – this has been very effective in reducing the percentage of human errors and the associated costs of correcting these errors. However, it often happens that some errors still creep in, and when this happens, the consequences can be catastrophic. Furthermore, business partners don’t always follow the rules you’ve established – for example, they may not adhere to the delivery note submission timeframe you’ve specified.
How can you have error-free EDI documents?
To monitor and correct all these issues, you need a system that can accurately supervise everything that happens. Such a system does exist and is used by all the top companies in the world – it’s called ‘B2B operational intelligence,’ and it monitors the flow of transactions as they unfold in the commercial network before these transactions reach the back-office environment. Just like an antivirus, it detects incorrect data and, depending on the severity level, either quarantines them or deletes them entirely. This system not only highlights what is already ‘broken’ but also alerts you to potential issues that could escalate if you don’t take corrective action.
Business-to-business operational intelligence solutions have existed for some time now – if you don’t already have one, consider the possibility of investing in such an incredible solution to boost your ROI. An even more popular concept than B2B operational intelligence is business intelligence, which has served as a foundation in the development of operational intelligence.
Operational intelligence vs. business intelligence
But what are the differences between them? Until recently, business intelligence was an excellent method for mitigating risks, which all companies used effectively. Unfortunately, this method only analyzed erroneous data that had already entered the system. Only then could actions be taken through the ERP system and/or a translator – and even then, not all incorrect data from external sources, such as business partners, could be managed.
On the other hand, operational intelligence has the power to identify incorrect data before it enters the system – or in other words, in time to take the necessary measures and thus prevent a disastrous situation.
How do you find the best solution?
Now that we have established what the definition is, the natural question is: what are the factors I should consider when consulting the solution offers on the market? Below, we present a list of the most important factors that make a huge difference:
• A scalable architecture that follows the same steps as your business as it grows;
• Flawless operation with supply chain processes;
• A user-friendly interface that offers self-service capabilities and reduces the number of requests directed to the IT department;
• Such flexible configuration of business rules that it can handle even the most specific compliance requirements with ease;
• Provides your employees with operational transparency and enables them to make timely decisions by granting access to valuable real-time information;
• The ability to send notifications according to your business needs;
• Must provide support for integration with any type of structured data, such as CSV, EDI, XML, and flat files.
Any B2B program that aims to be successful must also include the B2B operational intelligence component for the expected final results.