What is Not EDI

What is Not EDI: No Sending Via EMAIL or the WEB

What is Not EDI? In order to understand what EDI is, it’s important to understand what EDI isn’t. EDI is not just a regular method of sending documents electronically via EMAIL or the WEB. EDI documents are standardized (according to a standards development body) in a machine-readable format intended to be processed by an EDI Translator. For example, emailing a Purchase Order created in Microsoft Excel to a vendor can not be categorized as an EDI document transfer, because such process is not standardized. The caveat here is that EDI is used for computer-to-computer exchange of transactions without any human involvement.

Sending a proprietary-format flat file via FTP to a vendor is also not EDI. No proprietary or custom format qualifies as EDI. The essence of EDI is the standardized format created and agreed upon by a standards governing body. This is what makes any EDI file readable by any computer that’s processing EDI.

Standardization is the heart and soul of EDI, and the key to its ability and versatility. EDI is not associated with the use of tools such as diskette transfers, Email, tapes, fax, internal customized file transfers, or voice-response systems. EDI is not a programming language or an IT tool. EDI is an industry with specific methods and protocols that are constantly evolving to better serve all users. EDI is not limited to large enterprise organizations like GM or Wal-Mart, though the needs of large corporations made many of them EDI pioneers.

EDI is accessible and is widely used by small and medium-sized businesses that benefit from the cost savings and workflow advantages of EDI. EDI is not just a technical function, and seeing it as that is one of the most frequent and costly EDI implementation mistakes. EDI is about business-to-business interaction and relationships.

Learn about EDI business processes and functionality at EDI Academy live webinars – visit the schedule page.

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