The Basics of EDI: EDI Admin

EDI administrator is responsible for the daily operations and monitoring of the EDI software and infrastructure of an organization. 

The EDI admin is also often referred to as the "EDI coordinator" and has to be familiar with the EDI software and EDI communications. 

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EDI Admin

An EDI administrator is responsible for the daily operations and monitoring of the EDI software and infrastructure of an organization.  The EDI admin is also often referred to as the "EDI coordinator" and has to be familiar with the EDI software and EDI communications (VAN, FTP, AS2).  The EDI admin should also be familiar with the company's business processes that are supported by EDI.  Typically an EDI Admin is also capable of understanding basic EDI messages and issues surrounding EDI.

Key Responsibilities of an EDI admin

An EDI admin is responsible for monitoring EDI traffic (the inbound and outbound flow of EDI documents), contacting vendors where there are pending functional acknowledgements (997s).  The EDI admin also maintains logs of all contact information for the trading partners including names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails sent and received etc.  The EDI admin is also involved in initial testing for new EDI transactions and documents as well as being familiar with trading partner policies and procedures that may have impact on the business.  An example of this type of EDI admin responsibility involves understanding trading partner policies and procedures related to charge-backs due to improperly sent information.  This form of reverse invoicing on the part of the trading partners can become expensive and is a key issue for EDI admins.  In some companies, the EDI admin’s job includes ASN barcoding, although this would normally be restricted to reviewing and approving UCC128 carton labels.

The Varying Role of the EDI Admin

The EDI admin would normally report to an EDI manager who oversees several aspects of EDI administration and operation.  The number of EDI Admin personnel depends on the size of the organization, the EDI transaction volume and whether the EDI software is integrated with the back-end ERP or accounting system.  Many companies are now using EDI integration to send their transactions directly to their back-end systems, often minimizing or removing the need for an EDI admin or coordinator.  In situations where this function is eliminated, the EDI admin is typically moved to more useful functions within the company.  In organizations where the EDI data is not integrated, the EDI admin often performs data entry tasks as well as their primary EDI responsibilities; moving to an integrated environment will mean re-training the EDI admin, but the general effect is positive for both the organization and the individual.  Regardless of their primary role, the EDI admin, is a key part of the organization and the EDI support structure.

Do You Need an EDI Admin?

Companies just getting started with EDI, often do not have a dedicated EDI admin.  Choosing whether to have an EDI admin depends on many factors including how critical the administration of EDI is to your business.  The EDI admin can play critical roles for your company beyond simply administering your EDI infrastructure.  The EDI admin can be involved in selecting your services as well selecting new EDI solution providers for your business.  This focused role of the EDI admin means that you should not have the EDI admin sharing any other IT responsibilities outside of EDI.

While having a dedicated EDI admin may seem counter-intuitive, it can be a critical aspect of your business.  The EDI admin's role of managing and maintaining your EDI infrastructure is critical in ensuring that your business maintains continuity.  A simple analogy for the role of the EDI admin can be compared with other IT professionals.  Just like your IT people are responsible for managing applications rather than using them, similarly the EDI admin is responsible for managing your EDI, not for using it.  Since this role is one of 'management' it's also important to understand that your EDI admin acts as the 'overseer' and regulator of proper EDI usage.  The EDI admin must monitor EDI usage in your organization and notify the company when EDI is used improperly.  Having your EDI admin also acting as a user of the system would create a conflict of interest for the organization.  As your usage of EDI expands, the EDI admin's role will also change.  Companies with large EDI deployments use several EDI admin personnel, each focused on a key part of EDI.

To EDI Admin or not to EDI Admin?

Establishing a clear policy must include the role of the EDI admin.  A properly defined EDI admin role is a critical part of how your company uses EDI.  Since the EDI admin is primarily responsible for day-to-day management of EDI in your company, the EDI admin wields a fair amount of power and should be chosen carefully.  In fact, the EDI admin role is as critical as that of the IT manager.  As your business grows it will eventually become important to have a dedicated EDI admin.  Whether you are new to EDI or advanced in its usage, having a good EDI admin will mean a great deal to your company.


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