Based on the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 format, the EDI 997 provides a positive response that informs the sender if the content of the transmission was syntactically correct. In addition, it can provide increasing levels of detail that are controlled by the trading partners. In this form, the EDI 997 is equivalent to a receipt, providing information that an exchange of goods for currency has taken place.
EDI 997 & The Communication Process
The EDI 997 is always sent by both buyer and vendor as a way of ensuring that the communication of the EDI 997 was successful. Through the EDI 997, the partners can audit which EDI exchanges were successful and which had problems. Like all other EDI documents, the EDI 997 must be generated through a specialized application (the EDI translator) and then sent to the recipient through some electronic means. The senders computer will typically perform the translation of the EDI 997 into an EDI format, while the communication will take place either through an Internet EDI connection or through a Value Added Network (VAN).
Transmitting the EDI 997
Once the EDI 997 is ready to be sent to the recipient, one of two methods are going to be generally used. The first, and still most popular method, is the use of a VAN. A VAN acts as an intermediary between the two parties, facilitating the communication of the EDI 997 (and other EDI documents). In this manner the VAN is very similar in scope to the US postal service. Beyond simple delivery though, the VAN is also responsible for ensuring that the transmission is secure throughout the entire process. This is always of paramount importance, but even more so with documents like the EDI 997 that may include private and confidential information. A second option that is growing in popularity is the use of a direct connection through the Internet to exchange the EDI 997 between two parties. This second form of communication is also know as AS2 communication. When using AS2 to send the EDI 997, the document is encrypted at the source and sent using secure internet-based protocols to the recipient which then must have software capable of decrypting the EDI 997 prior to translation.
Translating the EDI 997
Once an EDI 997 is received the first step must be translation of the document. An EDI 997, like any EDI document, in its native format is not meant to be read by a human operator. In the translation process the EDI 997 will be converted into one of two forms - a "human readable" format - usually in the form of a report that is printed to a physical printer, or (more likely) into a file format that is easily imported into an accounting or ERP system. The translation of the EDI 997 into this more easily integrated format is the first key step in the reception of the EDI 997 before it can be used by the intended recipient.
Integrating the EDI 997 Into Your Business
Once the EDI 997 is translated into a computer ready format, a secondary in-house process takes the new file with the information that originated in the EDI 997 and moves it into the recipient's ERP or accounting system. At this stage of the transformation the EDI 997 is now a document that can be identified and used by the recipient as the sender of the EDI 997 intended.