EDI Additional Components: Communications Tool, Database, Business application, Integration bridge
EDI Additional components like database, business application or integration bridge will typically be sold separately from full packaged software bundles. Below you’ll find a brief description of additional tools used for EDI integration.
Most EDI software packages will contain a communications management tool used for sending and receiving trading partner data. This tool will typically support multiple transport protocols such as TCP/IP, FTP, HTTP, SMTP, AS1, AS2 and ETC. Typically FTP and a script to connect to a Value Added Network Service will be included in the standard bundle of the communications component. Since communication set ups can get complicated, sometimes it makes sense to use a communications adapter that is outside of the EDI software package scope. For example, there are software vendors that specialize just in communications portion of the software tool.
In order to invoke the communications and the translator tools, a scheduler is needed. The scheduler builds the steps to automate the EDI process. The scheduler automates operations in the EDI environment. The scheduling tool should also have trigger or event based processing features. For example, an EDI translation and communications session is instructed to kick off once a file arrives in a certain directory.
A relational database management system is needed in order for the EDI software package to function and store data. This component needs to be acquired separately from the EDI software package. Most software vendors allow the flexibility of using any standard database tool such as Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Access. Some EDI translators have their own proprietary database.
The business application is certainly an integral part of the EDI environment. Once the machine-readable raw EDI data is translated, it should be integrated into the business application to reap all the benefits EDI has to offer. A business application can range from a small business package such as QuickBooks to a full blown enterprise resource planning (ERP) system such as SAP or PeopleSoft. The business application may also be home-grown.
Business Applications typically do not allow proprietary translated files to be imported or exported without doing some programming. Sometimes there is a commercial integration bridge tool available that would link the translated EDI file directly into the Business Application. For example, if a map converts an EDI X12 file to a comma delimited or CSV file, the integration bridge tool does the actual work of importing the file into the business application.
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