The very definition of EDI is that it is the exchange of electronic documents, between businesses or trading partners using a standardised format. It is the standardised format that differentiates EDI documents from other electronic documents such as PDF’s that are sent via email.
Despite EDI documents having a structured format which enables computer systems to directly communicate with each other, there are multiple EDI standards in use, which dictate the exact format and structure of the messages.
Some EDI standards are more prevalent in certain geographies or industries and have typically been developed in response to a particular need in that geography or vertical market.
What are the most common EDI standards?
EDIFACT stands for Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport and is a standard developed by the United Nations. The EDIFACT standard provides an internationally agreed message format, directories and guidelines for multi-country and multi-industry EDI communications.
Tradacoms is an EDI standard introduced in 1982 as a precursor to EDIFACT and subsequently maintained and extended by GS1 UK. The development of Tradacoms ended in 1995 in favour of the EDIFACT EANCOM subsets.
ANSI X12 stands for American National Standards Institute X12 and refers to the American EDI standard developed in 1979.
Developed in 1987, EANCOM was created as a subset of the EDIFACT standard.
EDI via the XML open standard differs greatly to other standards-based EDI, because XML is made up of information gathered into tags rather than having set positions for the data like the EDIFACT and X12 standard.
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TrueCommerce and EDI standards
Although EDI without doubt fulfils its aim, which is to simplify B2B communications, because of the evolution of multiple EDI standards, translation is still required more often than not. Translating data from the EDI standards a business utilises and the standards used by their trading partners is just one of the elements included in TrueCommerce’s EDI solution, which is delivered as a fully managed EDI service.
To find out more about the EDI managed service offered by TrueCommerce and how we can help with your EDI requirements, please get in touch.