Dealing with EDI Standards

  June 19, 2012       By Ray Atia
People are having a hard time handling EDI standards. There is not one set of rules for all EDI users right now, and they do not all work with a strict set of standards. The history of EDI is formulated from rules that have grown up from corporations to region to group standards. Every single industry has different business requirements though, and the need to understand differences in EDI document structures will always be there. You may have to use standards that pertain to a specific industry if you are working with different industries. You also will have to adopt another set of standards if you are doing business on an international level. You may have to alter the standards to your different trading partners. There are so many different business requirements that define certain standards, and there are constant changes that are required for for EDI standards. The biggest problem with EDI users is that they have to worry about how EDI standards are employed. It is sometimes easier for a business partner to lengthen the use of a standard rule. They may have to control, change, or alter the syntax or content within the transaction set. This is something that is not good for standards. Trading partners sometimes formulate their own rules, and some of these interpretations are based on their own rules and some are based on mapping objectives. Standards abuse can create problems in the long run for those that work in IT, and they have to change the interface and applications to deal with the differences between trading partners sending or receiving data. There are so many standards profiles in use, and they have to know upfront the kinds of standards and subsets that they have to work with in order to implement them. It is ok to participate in the development of standards. The participation will make sure that business requirements are met. The alternative is to use what others have defined. You can join up with the ANSI ASC X12 to be a member of the standards development process. They meet three times a year, and they discuss standards. If you really want to take an active role, then this is the best organization to join. They will help you take an active role in formulating the standards that will matter to your company and organization in the long run, and it will be good for you to work with them.