How to Explain EDI to Your Board of Directors (+ Downloadable EDI PPT)

Posted by Brooke Lester on May 3, 2023 10:15 AM

How to Explain EDI to Your Board of Diectors

If you are planning on investing in an EDI system, there is a very good chance you will have to make a case for it in front of your board of directors. That might seem like a daunting task; it is likely your board of directors has no idea what EDI is.

To help you navigate this situation, Remedi has created an EDI PowerPoint (PPT) that explains what EDI is, how it works, and most importantly, the benefits it brings to businesses. Read on to learn what elements you should include in your presentation when you are making your case for EDI.

EDI and the Board

EDI is increasingly critical to businesses across industries, and a company’s board plays a significant role in ensuring that EDI succeeds.

EDI is a necessity because it increases efficiency and accuracy. By allowing for the automated exchange of business documents, such as invoices and purchase orders, EDI saves time and reduces the instance of error. Companies can say goodbye to costly data-entry mistakes.

Speaking of costs, EDI can save a business a significant number of them. By eliminating paper-based processes, it reduces associated spending, including on printing, mailing, and storage. EDI also boosts collaboration among business partners by allowing for real-time data exchange, which can facilitate faster, better decision-making.

A company’s board can help it achieve these benefits. First, board members can provide guidance regarding the importance of EDI and its alignment with company goals. They can allocate the resources necessary to deploy EDI solutions and support implementation, and they can oversee the process.

And a board of directors can help keep a company compliant once it starts using EDI. The board can help ensure compliance by reviewing applicable requirements and checking for risks.

To help you navigate this situation, Remedi has created an EDI PowerPoint (PPT) that explains what EDI is, how it works, and most importantly, the benefits it brings to businesses. Read on to learn what elements you should include in your presentation when you are making your case for EDI.

Where do you start?

The most important thing to remember is that your presentation should not be too technical. Yes, you should include a brief discussion about what EDI is and how it works. However, the focus of the EDI PPT meeting should be to highlight the merits of EDI from a business perspective.

You understand that EDI systems make business operations more efficient by allowing for effective, fast, and accurate communications between trading partners. In fact, you might even take it for granted, but the board of directors does not.

“The focus of your EDI PPT meeting should be to highlight the merits of EDI.

They do not have the same understanding of EDI’s benefits that you do. Thus, they will not approve an investment in something from which they do not think the company will derive a clear benefit.

Best Practices for Presenting EDI to the Board

As the saying goes, you only get one chance at a first impression – so make sure the EDI introduction you give members of your board is a compelling one. Here are some key strategies for implementing EDI initiatives:

  1. Determine: Begin by deciding on your objectives for implementing EDI. What do you hope the company gets out of it? Then Identify the specific business processes you want to automate and the advantages you expect to get from automating them.
  2. Review: Evaluate the systems your company already has in place to determine their compatibility with EDI. This could include examining your data formats, security measures and communication protocols.
  3. Choose: Select an EDI solution that meets your company’s needs. That means looking for a provider with experience in your industry and the functionality you need.
  4. Implement: Once you’ve chosen an EDI solution, you’ll need a detailed implementation plan, which should include assigned roles and responsibilities, the establishment of deadlines and the identification of any potential risks.
  5. Test: The next step is testing the system you’ve implemented so you can be certain it functions as intended. This could include testing communication protocols, data formatting and security measures.
  6. Train: Provide training to your staff on how to use the new EDI system, including how to send and receive documents and troubleshoot any problems that arise.
  7. Monitor and maintain: You will need to monitor and maintain your EDI solution as long as you have it. That means monitoring error logs, system utilization and performance metrics, as well as conducting regular maintenance, updates and upgrades.
  8. Tailor: Since you know your board members, when presenting, highlight the points you know will pique their interest and/or are important to them.
  9. Leverage: If you get buy-in from one or several influential board members, leverage their sway when it comes to anyone who may still be on the fence. Talk to the influential people on the board about the criticality of EDI for your firm and ask them to advocate on your behalf.

Explaining the Benefits of EDI

What specific EDI benefits should you highlight in your EDI PPT presentation to your board of directors? You need to emphasize how EDI makes it easier to do business with your firm.

For a start, EDI makes your company more efficient. Companies can no longer afford to spend time on manual processes. Manual processes are labor-intensive and error-ridden. If you type up a purchase order with the wrong information on it, you risk not receiving crucial inventory.

“Manual processes are labor-intensive and error-ridden.”

EDI removes the risk of error by automating such processes. Humans no longer need to be involved in transmitting information, so information is accurate and reliable.

Another way in which EDI systems make it easier for companies to do business with you is that you cannot modify information data in transit. There is no chance for someone to intercept it and make changes to documents. What a recipient gets is what was sent.

“EDI prevents the modification of data in transit, so what you get is what was sent.”

In addition to reducing errors and increasing reliability, EDI systems enable the rapid transmission of data. Instead of waiting for days (or even longer) to receive documents such as purchase orders or invoices through email, fax, or snail mail, EDI reduces that time to a matter of minutes. As a result, business processes move faster, so you are not stuck with inventory you do not need or waiting to get paid because “the check is in the mail.”

Overcoming Objections and Resistance

Below are some common objections to EDI implementation – and strategies to overcome them.

  1. Cost: One of the primary reasons your board might be against implementing EDI is the cost of acquiring and implementing the needed hardware, software and other infrastructure.
    • Be ready with a comprehensive plan that addresses each of the major outlays and includes a detailed cost-benefit analysis showing the potential savings EDI can provide in the long term.
  1. Integration with existing systems: Companies may already have in place systems that are not compatible with EDI, which can add a level of difficulty to an already complex process.
    • Develop and show the board members a clear plan for how the implementation will be managed, including any changes that will need to be made to existing workflows. (A phased implementation approach will minimize disruption to existing systems.)
  1. Security concerns: Board members may worry that because EDI involves the transfer of sensitive information, it will put the company at undue risk for data breaches and other cyber crime.
    • Craft a strategy for securing data during transmission and storage, including any necessary encryption and authentication measures, and share it with your board. You might want to find and provide some examples of other companies in your industry that have successfully implemented EDI and maintained high levels of security.
  1. Resistance to change: Implementing EDI requires changes to existing processes, which can be met with resistance from stakeholders who are comfortable with the status quo.
    • Determine what kind of training and support company staff and others might need as the implementation gets under way, then communicate this information to your board. Keeping board members in the loop during the implementation process can help them feel more at ease with the changes.
  1. Supplier readiness: Suppliers may not be willing to adopt EDI, which can make operations more challenging and add to your company’s expenses.
    • Figure out and then discuss with board members how your suppliers will be onboarded, including any training and support they might need. This may include providing incentives for suppliers to adopt EDI, such as reduced transaction costs.


When explaining the necessity of EDI to your company’s board members – not all of whom may already be convinced – there are several key points to keep in mind.

First, EDI reduces costs. Automating business processes, significantly reduces the costs typically associated with paper-based transactions, such as printing, mailing, and file storage. This means lower processing costs and a more efficient, cost-effective organization overall.

Second, paper-based business processes are slow and error-prone. EDI enables fast, efficient communication between trading partners, streamlining operations, freeing up resources, and saving employee time.

EDI also improves a company’s accuracy. Because it automates manual data entry and uses standardized formats, the technology drastically cuts down the number of errors that occur during transaction processing. This reduces the likelihood of data-entry errors, which translates to fewer shipment delays and chargebacks. 

Then there are the matters of supply chain management and visibility, both of which EDI improves. By giving real-time visibility into transaction status and inventory levels, EDI enables companies to better manage their supply chains and respond sooner to changes in demand. This can lead to reduced lead times, lower inventory levels, and reduced stockouts.

EDI bolsters competitive advantage, too. Since it enables more timely reactions to market fluctuations, EDI better positions companies to respond to customer demands and stay ahead of the competition.

Finally, when trying to persuade your board to implement EDI, it’s important to take note of those who are already EDI advocates. Keeping up communication with those individuals in your continuing advocacy and encouraging them to support EDI implementation when they speak to other board members can go a long way in cultivating full support for EDI initiatives.

Making the case for EDI in front of your board of directors is the first (and perhaps most crucial) step in implementing such a system.

Feel free to use Remedi's downloadable PowerPoint presentation "The Business Case for EDI" when explaining EDI to your stakeholders.

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