What is SAP Electronic data Interchange (EDI)?

Electronic Data Interchange is here to stay. SAP has provided many tools to ease the integration to EDI subsystems and these, together with a methodology of how to implement EDI are described in the following pages.

The term EDI A definition as follow,

“EDI is described as the interchange of structured data according to agreed message standards between computer systems, by electronic means. Structured data equates to a simple and direct method of presenting the data content of a document. The method of ensuring the correct interpretation of the information by the computer system is defined by the EDI standard.”

“EDI is a technique used to communicate business transactions between computer systems of different companies and organizations. Note that sometimes the EDI mechanism deployed at a company is often used to interface to other systems within the same organization.”

Info shuttle – “I was implementing EDI at a customer and I wanted some real data to test with in Development, so I asked the Project Manager to see if he could arrange something. Literally, 20 minutes later he came back and said that there were 10 new orders in Development, together with the customer master records related to the order, the carrier vendor master record, the material master records, … were all there.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

I asked him how he had done it so quickly which led me to my first exposure with Infoshuttle, a tool that does this for you using the ALE functionality. As an ALE consultant I know how to do this stuff but I also know how long it would take to set that up. This is truly a product worth exploring in more detail.” Kevin Wilson, ERPGenie.COM Founder, ALE EDI Workflow Consultant (Request Product Detail)

Some thoughts

You should not to attempt to switch to a full SAP EDI implementation overnight. It takes time for people, systems, and processes to adapt to any new methodology. Implementing SAP EDI is a project in its own right and needs to be handled phase by phase as in any other information system implementation. We describe some of the issues and how to implement an SAP EDI solution in the following pages.

The painful issues of implementing EDI are considered to be:

Application level configuration – Message control, partner determination, output determination

Technical configuration – Just getting the systems to talk to each other. SAP, translator, modem…


Testing – How do you test with someone you may never meet? How do you do your own testing without sending data to your partner? How do you differentiate between a test message and a real one?

Mapping – How do you map an IDoc to an EDI message? What fields go where?

Also See: What is BackOrder Processing in SAP SD and How to Create?

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