Industries that use computers employ ELECTRONIC DATA PROCESSING (EDP) MANAGERS to control the various activities related to the operation of the firm's mainframe computer or its client-server network, as well as all of the peripheral equipment. Major users of EDP systems are banks, public utilities, transportation and insurance companies, large manufacturing firms, and government and educational establishments.



EDP evolved from "DP" (data processing), a term that was created when most computing input was physically put into the computer in punched card form and output as punched cards or paper reports.

Electronic Data Processing Definition


Electronic data processing (also: Information Technology or IT) can refer to the use of automated methods to process commercial data.

EDP Explained

Electronic Data Processing

Definition: Electronic Data Processing (EDP) refers to the use of automated measures using simple, repetitive actions -  and  computer technology - to organise and store documents and sometimes to transfer them from paper to a digital format.


Electronic Data Processing

The term Electronic Data Processing is one that is infrequently used in modern computing. Originally coined in an era in which the idea of storing and processing data on computers could be entertained by only the largest of businesses, EDP is now a reality of daily life for the vast majority of businesses around the globe. In fact, the term has since been updated variously to the better known terms ‘IT’ (Information Technology) and ‘IS’ (Information Systems).

History of EDP

When the first commercial computer, the Lyons Electronic Office (LEO 1), was developed in 1951 by the Joe Lyons catering organization the only method of inputting data onto the computer was through the use of punched tape or cards. These punch cards had to be separately manufactured before their input, and the data itself was stored within the computer on magnetic tape.

At the time, individual organizations were required to create their own bespoke data processing software and utilities as there was no industry devoted to the mass production of applications designed for general data processing use.

Clearly, the process of processing commercial data with computers was both extremely time consuming and prohibitively expensive. For example, IBMs 7090 Data Processing Computer cost $2.89million and required around 25 operating personnel for each 8-hour shift.

With the advent of the microprocessor the field of electronic data processing advanced in leaps and bounds. Freed from the constraints of punch cards and multiple trained operators it became possible for data to be processed electronically using simple, relatively powerful desktop computers.

EDP in the Modern Era

While the term EDP itself may be regarded by many as quaint in today’s electronic world, the issues and problems involved in electronic data processing are faced by businesses large and small each and every day.

Most businesses use computers, and the vast majority engage in electronic data processing of some variety – usually in processing data in order to provide goods and services to customers in a timely and efficient manner.

Electronic Data ProcessingMost businesses retain a number of employees for the express purpose of managing data – inputting raw information to create valuable commercial assets.

Being time intensive, electronic data processing can present a major drain on the resources of an enterprise. One of the main concerns of any enterprise, therefore, is to enable efficient data resource management through the implementation of sensible data management policies.

EDP and the Paperless Office – Increasing Efficiency while Minimizing Cost

Despite this being a highly computerized age a large majority of enterprises still rely heavily on (more expensive) paper documents. However, for both cost and ecological reasons, businesses are attempting to move towards the ‘paperless office’, the Holy Grail of modern business which dispenses with manual data transfer altogether.

Canning, R. G. (1956). Electronic data processing for business and industry. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc