EDI Specification – The Basic Document for Testing EDI
EDI Specification is being created when two trading partners decide to establish and begin electronic communication and documents exchange. EDI Specification, first of all, contains EDI documents that will be sent by parties, with precise transaction description. EDI Specification describes the fields and segments necessary to complete a transaction sent. As soon as EDI Specification is completed, both parties understand which EDI information is expected to be sent.
Speaking about EDI Specification, we can somehow call it a set or general EDI rules. These rules define type of the documents, segments and elements, size and type of the data in the transaction set. But such specification cannot be used in more close relationship between two parties. For this reason it should be tailored additionally.
When EDI Specification is tailored for a specific usage, e.g. for EDI exchange between two companies, unused segments and elements within the document may be removed. The same way parties can add specific values to the specification or specify the type of elements etc.
After the specification is completed it becomes the main source of information for EDI exchange, the basis for set-up process and example for EDI transactions validation. Usually EDI file passes visual comparison according to specification, but also the specification can be in a form of the SEF file. In this case EDI file can be scanned and checked for compliancy and accuracy.
Any electronic data interchange testing process should start with discussing specifications. At this stage parties speak about their musts and wishes for electronic data interchange documents transmitting, define the list of the transactions and their content. EDI specifications may contain more information about transaction – notes, specific information – and can be updated regularly. Big corporations (e.g. Macy’s, Walgreens, Walmart, Indigo Books etc.) usually set rules for EDI cooperation with small-size companies. These rules together with electronic data interchange specifications are often available at vendor portals or company’s web-site. Those parties who want to establish business relationships with such corporations should have a look at these documents in order to understand general EDI approach of the defined partner.