For some enterprises, EDI can be difficult to implement. One reason is the need to keep pace with shifting government regulations, standards and updates. It is also inherently complex, as it needs to accommodate the complexities of global business needs. For example, each trading partner in a B2B network can present individual requirements. Even though two partners may agree on which EDI document to use, each can have unique formatting requirements that need to be supported. These factors, and others, have led many organizations to outsource their EDI solutions.
Whether in-house or outsourced, there are some basic conditions, capabilities and resources needed to implement EDI effectively. In addition to factors such as agreement on document types, secure transmission methods, and requisite hardware and software, an effective EDI implementation should consider:
Translation or mapping software
This type of transformation software takes fields such as names, addresses, currency amounts, part numbers and quantities, and maps them from business application formats into standardized documents and vice versa.
Batch enveloping or de-enveloping capabilities
These capabilities support large EDI message batches by enabling senders and receivers to wrap and unwrap transactions. The transactions can then be grouped from or split into several divisions or areas of a trading associate’s business.
Message routing mechanisms
After a message is de-enveloped, routing mechanisms are required to sort the messages for different groups and deliver them to the appropriate targets. Message transformation may also be required to get the message into the correct format for its destination.
Trading partner agreements (TPA)
TPA clarifies terms and conditions, establishes standards for business documents and defines communications and business protocols between trading partners.