This is the second of a three part blog series that discusses our favorite older technologies that work seamlessly with cloud-based data integrations. Next up on the cloud catwalk: EDI.
The cloud is the emerging dynamite platform for new trends and technologies that have drawn awe from anyone who knows anything about integration. While we all embrace the new (and rightly so), I want to pay appropriate homage to a venerable and nimble file type used all over the world for integrations today: EDI.
Before the editors yell at me, let me define what I mean by “EDI.” Generically speaking, EDI means “Electronic Data Interchange” and is a purposefully nebulous term that represents technology that’s been around since the 1960s as any means to integrate computers.
This blog narrows the talk and focuses on the EDI business document standards that emerged in the 1980s to facilitate the growing need to integrate across assorted industries. Two of the EDI standards we see here at Liaison most often are:
- The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) X12, primarily used in North America.
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE), EDIFACT, primarily used in Europe and internationally.
The emergence of these and other EDI standards was a major data integration boon that facilitated easier integrations with fewer errors. It works like this – you just call up the party with whom you want to integrate, get the EDI document number, and you’re instantly speaking the same language. Want to send an invoice? The X12 810 document is for you. Lockbox payment? X12 823. Student educational transcript? X12 130. Well you get the idea – see the whole document list here.
Both the ANSI X12 and EDIFACT EDI standards are comprised of three components: a syntax and encoding scheme for messages, a data dictionary and data elements to be used for standard messages. Powerful yet elegant.
The real beauty about these EDI types is they work perfectly over the cloud and integrate well with any other file type. The fact is that many potential integration partners, from banks to schools to government entities, are fully entrenched in EDI-world. So fortunately Liaison is your friendly resident EDI cloud integration expert. We take the messy middleware burden off our clients’ shoulders and do the heavy EDI integration lifting, as evidenced by the millions of EDI transactions flow through Liaison DXP every year.
OK, enough my good friend EDI for now, or my other good friend Mr. XML will show signs of jealousy. Next time we’ll discuss older legacy systems that work well over the cloud.
EDI resources you’d rue to miss:
- IFLA’s 1993 old school comprehensive EDI history with a lemony twist of the academic.
- Let’s give some extra love to Liaison’s EDI Notepad. It’s a free download and a great tool for building, editing, and validating EDI files – and I use it every day! Make your own EDI file, I double-dog dare you.
- Lastly, let’s not forget our cloud EDI integration solution.