[News brief] EDI: three methods depending on your needs
Published on 17 May 2017
Electronic Document Interchange (EDI) arose from the need for two separate business systems to exchange information between each other. These business-to-business transactions cover all types of areas, from billing and purchase orders to inventory data sheets. They also require a system to be set up between businesses to translate these documents into a standard format that all systems can interpret. A document is created at business A and transmitted via EDI to business B, who then files or archives it as needed. There are three EDI methods that can be used depending on a business’ needs, as outlined below.
Peer-to-peer EDI software:
This is mainly used by small companies who do not require a large exchange network. Trading partners are connected to each other via a specific network and use the same software to transmit documents. The downside to this software is that it cannot really be extended to multiple suppliers and partners as a business grows.
Web EDI platforms:
EDI can also be used via web platforms, by using VANs (Value-added Networks). These were introduced as a way to circumvent the limitations of peer-to-peer networks, so that larger businesses could transmit documents with multiple partners and suppliers. These VANs are solely dedicated to EDI services and provide an array of services that peer-to-peer software does not.
SaaS EDI interfaces:
The growing availability of the Internet has made it possible for the development of SaaS EDI interfaces, where each connected business has access to a specific EDI interface, accessible directly through a browser. This method is growing rapidly in popularity due to its ease of integration, access, and ability to scale up or down.
PDF to EDI
Another transmission method that is available is PDF to EDI, in which a PDF document is placed on an online platform and translated before being transmitted.