EDI Integration: Software Upgrades, Proprietary Data And Legal Concerns
EDI Integration requires regular updates. The Rail Industry Guidelines are updated each year upon publication of the ASC X12 version/release. Trading partners within the rail industry are expected to upgrade to one of the two most current version/releases on a schedule agreed to by the railroads. In most cases the upgrade process is simple; in some cases the upgrade may take some work. The annual upgrade restricts the number of version/releases that each trading partner must handle at one time. Furthermore, Union Pacific supports the upgrade schedule as part of its commitment to continuous improvement.
Each version/release of the national standards is more precise and contains additional capability. Each publication of the Rail Industry Guidelines corrects problems encountered in actual operation and provides for a richer exchange of information. The annual upgrade process assures that the advantages of the new standards and guidelines are incorporated into the business at a consistent rate.
Unless security is breached along the way, a sender’s message goes to the receiver without being “read” by anyone else. EDI does not provide direct access to internal files. By using a VAN, a company can have all messages sent to the VAN mailbox, eliminating direct computer-to-computer contact between sender and receiver. The use of authorization codes and passwords also can limit the activity performed by any outside party.
Convince your lawyers and auditors to go along with EDI
Both the auditing and legal professions have addressed EDI; both are represented at the ASC X12 as national standards are set. The issues that may arise in these areas are manageable, with proper planning. Trading Partner Agreements specify the legal conditions for paperless transactions, and EDI auditability is ensured by developing EDI systems with built-in controls for proper transaction handling. Success in overcoming the objections of lawyers and auditors can be achieved by involving them in the planning stages of EDI implementation.