ThreeB IT Developer
Achieving EDI compliance ultimately means three things:
- Setting up your EDI infrastructure
- Aligning your EDI setup with your trading partners' EDI systems
- Certifiably adhering to common standards
To get started with EDI, you'll need to either procure, set up or outsource the following key components:
- EDI software for communications, mail boxing of EDI transactions, EDI mapping and EDI translation
- Internet communications, VAN, etc. as required by various partners
- Hardware: a server or PC, communication devices and peripherals
- Secured office space and monitored security
- Data backups and redundant power for reliability
- Software for any integration of EDI transactions with back office systems
- Maps for each EDI document type exchanged with each partner to map EDI records into useable business documents
In addition, you'll need to train your team in how to use your EDI software and communication devices or select an EDI integration partner to set it all up and train your team.
Aligning with Your Partners
Your EDI is only as valuable as your integrations with your partners' systems. Big keys include:
- Determining which EDI protocols you'll use to send and receive EDI documents (e.g. AS2, SFTP, etc.)
- Selecting and implementing exchanges for the correct EDI documents, or transactions (e.g. 850 purchase orders)
- Nailing down the use cases when you'd send and receive each EDI document
- Tying EDI into your other operational, logistics or 3PL, accounting and order fulfillment systems - you may want solutions that help with broader process implementations
- Properly integrating EDI mapping, translation and testing with your partners
Depending on your setup, this can include mutually selecting EDI solutions and EDI integration providers. Ultimately, you'll need the right solutions to help you maximize your partnership. The simpler the setup (with the most versatile tools), the faster you can implement EDI and start saving time & money while growing relationships with your partner.
Certification to Common Standards
Common, certified standards are the glue that holds EDI together. Key certifying bodies govern these standards and can help you evaluate various solutions.
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI) - certifies the X12 EDI standard used in the U.S.
- UN/CEFACT - certifies the popular international EDIFACT standard
- GS1 - certifies several industry-specific international EDI standards (built on EDIFACT)
- Drummond - certifies EDI software through rigorous interoperability testing, ensuring that different EDI tools can successfully communicate with each other