EDI in a nutshell

What is EDI?

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the application-to-application exchange of business documents in a standardized electronic format between business or trading partners.

EDI documents can flow through to the appropriate application on the receiver’s system (e.g. SAP, Oracle, Navision etc.) and data processing can begin immediately, instead of having people involved for manual keying in the relevant data. The most common business documents exchanged via EDI are purchase orders, invoices and advanced shipping notices.

There are several EDI Standards in use today, including ANSI X12, EDIFACT, EANCOM, etc. And, for each standard there are many different versions like EDIFACT D.96A, EDIFACT D.01B etc. When two trading partners decide to exchange EDI documents, they must agree on the specific EDI standard, version and of course on the content.

Both trading partners typically use an EDI translator or EDI Service Provider to translate EDI messages into inhouse files (e.g. SAP IDoc) before integration in the inhouse system.


What is an EDI Standard?

Due to different historical developments, country- and/or business-specific requirements, several different EDI Standards and so called Subsets have been developed. The most important EDI Standards can be found here.


What is an EDI Mapping?

The act of determining what pieces of information in the company’s database should be placed into each data element of an EDI message (EDIFACT) or Transaction Set (ANSI X12), or in reverse, what data elements of an EDI message (EDIFACT) or Transaction Set (ANSI X12) should be placed into the company’s database is called Mapping.


What is an EDI Translator?

An EDI Translator or Converter is a software which is used to translate/convert information from an inhouse format (e.g. SAP IDoc) to an EDI format (e.g. EDIFACT, ANSI X12) or vice versa. It's is also possible to use EDI Cloud Services instead of an Inhouse EDI Translater/Converter.