EDI standards are agreements between users of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) on how data is to be formatted and communicated. Standards are key to both the effectiveness and integrity of EDI. These standards are embodied in the electronic form of business documents known as transaction sets. Standards provide a common syntax, set of rules, and procedures for their maintenance and enhancements. They presently define and support more than 200 business documents derived from industry and government working groups. They provide a framework from which new standards can be derived, as well as, a database of elements to be used in the creation of new standards.
What do EDI standards address?
In general, EDI formatting standards address the following issues:
- What documents can be communicated electronically,
- What information is to be included,
- What sequence the information should follow,
- What forms the information (numeric, ID codes, etc) should use, and
- The meaning of the individual pieces of information.
What is included in an EDI standard?
All standards include data elements, segments, and transaction sets. The format is comparable to the language you speak. For instance, an element can be compared to a word. A segment is comparable to a sentence. A transaction set is comparable to a paragraph or a document. Elements are combined to form a segment, just as words are combined to form a sentence. Segments are combined to create a transaction set. The two commonly used standards are EDI for Administration, Commerce, and Transport (EDIFACT) for generic international, and American National Institute/Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ANSI ASC X12) for generic domestic.