EDI eBook – Standards, Infrastructure and Business Considerations

An accessible guide to common EDI standards, solution architecture and considerations for integration with business processes. Based on over a decade of delivering EDI integration as part of electronic invoicing for global brands.

EDI eBook - Standards, Infrastructure and Business Considerations

Excerpt from the eBook:


EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, is the transfer of structured data, or standardised electronic documents, between businesses, without human intervention.

Having gained prominence in the 1980s, EDI became the standard for B2B data transmission. However, EDI has traditionally been associated with large corporates, having a reputation for being complex and expensive; a powerful tool, but only for those who really need it.


Where did EDI come from?

As is the case from many early technology developments, EDI’s routes can be traced back to military data exchanges just after the close of the second world war. Specifically, logistical challenges in the 1948 Berlin airlift. These developments later shaped the first TDCC (Transportation Data Coordinating Committee) standards in the US, leading to development of EDI for Freight Control Systems. An early example can be found in the London Airport Cargo EDP Scheme (LACES) at Heathrow Airport, London, UK, in 1971.

EDI really started to grow in use in the 1980s, resolving problems pertaining to maritime traffic and associated Customs processes. With the growth in industry and business logistics, around this time, it wasn’t long before the larger, computer-equipped, businesses of the day saw the value in its commercial application.


Where does EDI fit into business today?

Today, EDI solutions exist for all size of company from large multinationals to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). With the explosion in business data, EDI solutions are well suited to facilitating the high-volume, high-speed, computer-to-computer transactions and information flow prevalent in today’s business arena.

Implementation can be achieved through a managed EDI network, Virtual Private Network (VPN), or via point-to-point using a secure internet connection like AS2 or secure FTP. As more businesses use these technologies daily, the barriers to EDI adoption are falling away.

A growing number of businesses seek EDI enablement without the restriction of choosing just one EDI network or document standard. Outsourcing document distribution to a third party can bring the benefits of EDI without the classic limitations, or high deployment costs.

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