Electronic Document Interchange with EDI

Electronic Data Interchange

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the de-facto standard for data exchange with customers and business partners. 

Why is EDI important? Companies exchange countless documents every day. Let’s look at the classic situation: Company B receives a purchase order from company A for one or more articles. 

What does EDI mean?

Electronic Data Interchange or EDI refers to the exchange of electronic business documents and data between business partners. Electronic data interchange makes it possible to achieve a high level of process automation through integrated business processes.


Without EDI

Company A transmits the purchase order to the business partner as a fax, letter or e-mail. Company B confirms the purchase order in a similar way. Even though both companies are probably using IT systems as application software, the communication between them is carried out manually. Media disruption occurs. Data must be entered manually into the relevant IT systems – this costs time and money and is prone to errors. 


With EDI

The transmission of business documents takes place automatically since the IT systems of both companies exchange messages directly in accordance with the agreed standards. The standard defines exactly how messages are created and transported.Data is exchanged automatically, quickly, and reliably. 

What is EDI?

EDI or Electronic Data Interchange refers to the automated electronic transmission of documents and data between two or more business partners. EDI also refers to a conglomerate of different, standardized or bilateral processes for this message transmission. Manual intervention is required only in exceptional cases. 

The agreements between the communicating partners, which regulate the data exchange, can be very brief or they can be very detailed. For example, a brief agreement might consist of merely the message format and an end point for the message transfer. A more comprehensive agreement might also contain transfer protocols, code values, clear semantics, and a special message format and associated notifications. There are many different standards available for selection. 

What are EDI standards?

EDI standards define which data is transmitted and how. The universal UN/EDIFACT standard is supplemented by industry-specific subsets. In the banking sector, the SWIFT standard is used. The European automotive industry works with the VDA or ODETTE standard, and in the E-business and electronics sectors, the RosettaNet standard provides the guidelines. The different standards define semantics and format. The protocols for message transfer (HTTPS, AS4, SFTP, etc.) are also defined, as are the procedures to be initiated when problems arise. 

Click on the right to view all currently supported standards. 

Flexible, independent, open

Become independent of external service providers and specific formats and avoid transaction costs. There is no restriction to any specific message format. This means that companies are flexible in their use of EDI protocols and the system is also open for new protocols that do not yet exist. The same applies to message formats. Whether it is XML, SAP IDoc or UN/EDIFACT, or EDIFACT subsets and even special message formats such as VD or HL7 – you can transmit messages in all formats.

  • Drummond
  • DGI (UCC)
  • HTTP
Confirmation of receipt
  • Synchronous
  • Asynchronous
Transfer protocols
  • AS1
  • AS2
  • AS3
  • AS4
  • OFTP2
  • RNIF 2.0
Encryption method
  • 3DES
  • DES
  • AESCBC128
  • AESCBC129
  • AESCBC256
  • SHA1
  • SHA256
  • MD5

You can find more facts and information about EDI in our white paper