Common EDI Technical Terms

Today’s post covers common EDI technical terms and is the second of a four part series. The post next week will cover EDI business acronyms and the week after that will review EDI technical acronyms.

The technical terms below are frequently encountered by small businesses when they first start to investigate EDI.

Connectivity – The capability to connect two computers located at two different businesses for the purpose of sending and receiving EDI transactions. The most common connectivity method is by way of a Value Added Network (VAN). Most other connectivity is via a communication method called AS/2.

EDI transaction numbers – EDI document types are uniquely identified with a 3 digit number. For example, a purchase order is an 850 EDI document, a shipping notice is an 856, and an invoice is an 810.

EDI Software – EDI software facilitates sending and receiving EDI transactions according to each trading partners unique requirements. The EDI transactions are translated and mapped into a form that is either human readable, such as a web form, or which can be integrated with a system, such as an accounting system.

Functional acknowledgement – An EDI transaction that is sent by the receiver to the sender which lets the sender know that the receiver did in fact receive the transaction. A functional acknowledgment is a 997 type.

Translator – The functionality of EDI software that converts EDI data into another format.

Mapping – The functionality of EDI software configuration that converts each EDI field into a field in the file of a different format. Mapping is necessary because virtually every EDI partner has unique requirements requiring mapping to their specifications.

Mailbox – An EDI mailbox is a secure storage area that is accessed to send and receive EDI transactions via a Value Added Network.

Value Added Network –A secure third party service that communicates EDI transactions between trading partners. Commonly referred to as a “VAN.” A VAN enables a trading partner to have one mailbox from which to send and receive EDI transactions.

Version – A four digit number that identifies the specific release of the ANSI or EDIFACT standard that is used by the trading partner. Varies from partner to partner. For example, some partners use version ANSI version 4010, some use version 4030, others use version 5010 etc.

A cloud EDI provider such as CovalentWorks bundles all of the terms used above into one easy-to-use service accessible via the web. Contact us us anytime to find out more.

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