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EDI Communication

Understanding the Basics of EDI


What is EDI Communication?

EDI Com is simply a contraction of EDI communications and is often used when discussing the means of exchanging EDI data with your trading partners.  When a business implements EDI the focus is always on the transactions, but eventually the means of exchanging these transactions must be discussed.  This is where EDI com comes into play.  There are a number of means of implementing EDI com ranging from traditional EDI com strategies based on EDI VANs to more modern, direct EDI com methodologies like AS2 communications.  Regardless of how you implement EDI com your business will need to ensure that the EDI com methodology you select is compatible with the VAN or trading partners you do business with.  There are a number of EDI com strategies that your business can implement. 

Traditional Dial-up Based EDI Com 

The most well known and oldest form of EDI com is through traditional dial-up means to dedicated networks.  This form of EDI com is typically associated with VANs.  Before the Internet became a prevalent means of communication, VANs operated as closed networks with direct dial-up communications to allow companies to trade EDI data.  This form of EDI com is one of the oldest and is still used by a number of trading partners, however, as the Internet has become the prevalent means of communicating, EDI com has switched as well.


Internet-Based EDI Com 

There are a number of EDI com methods associated with the Internet.  Using FTP is one form of EDI com that is used frequently by smaller organizations. The benefit of this EDI com is that it's easy to use, affordable and that it can be deployed by non-technical staff.  The biggest drawback to this EDI com is the lack of security.  The second form of Internet-based EDI com is known as AS2.  AS2 simply uses the HTTPS protocol to establish an Internet-based connection between two trading partners.  This form of EDI com is used by many large retailers, including Wal-Mart, and is one of the most popular EDI com methods available.  The challenge with AS2 based EDI com is that it can be technically challenging to implement.  A third method, known as AS3, has become more widely available recently.  This form of EDI com is based on the secure FTP protocol and provides the ease of use benefits of FTP based EDI com with the added security of an encrypted EDI com methodology.


Getting Started with EDI com 

As a small or mid-sized business you may be struggling with which form of EDI com to use for your business.  The answer fortunately is that if you work with the right vendor you can use any of the EDI com methodologies easily.  Companies like DiCentral have begun to bundle EDI com capable software with their EDI packages to create a more seamless and more affordable experience.  The VANs have also embraced the new Internet-based EDI com technologies to ensure that they can remain competitive and to keep as much of their business as feasible.  These developments have made it possible for businesses to embrace EDI without having to worry about the communications methods that will be deployed.  When selecting your vendor you should ensure that they provide some means of EDI communications that are integrated with their systems to ensure a smoother and more trouble-free experience.

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