Getting started with EDI

There is a lot of hesitancy from organizations when considering applying a technology like EDI. The migration is a big change and will affect how almost every business process in the company. The benefits are clear. Often, the confusion and hesitancy are due to a lack of knowing how the entire process works. Here is an example of an EDI implementation:

The first step is to get the implementation guide and other details from the trading partner. The documentation defines the method and formatting of the trading documents.

The next step is to sign up with an EDI provider and set up the software. Modern systems use internet EDI for document transfer, although you could use private links if it supports the network of the trading partner. The software will map and translate the data from your systems before transfer.

As a first step, a few test documents and document flow will be sent to iron out any communication or mapping issues. Once that is complete, then a full blown test of transactions, payments, orders, etc. will confirm that no changes are necessary on your systems.

Until the system is stable, run the paper process in parallel. Doing so will surface any hidden issues that will only show up when you run with live data. Maintaining the paper-based system ensures that no show-topping events occur during the initial weeks and months.