In the latest installment of IDEA’s EDI Expert Series, IDEA’s Manager, B2B Solutions, Tom Guzik explains how your business system communicates with EDI. With each installment, we will bring you answers to frequently-asked questions about EDI for users and non-users alike. If you have any questions you would like answered in a future segment, submit your topic to email@example.com.
Q: How does my system communicate with EDI?
A: Your system will talk with EDI using its native file format, meaning every ERP system has a file format structure that it’s used to working with and it knows how to interpret.
So, if you’re going to do EDI, your inbound documents have to be converted into your ERP’s native file format, and that’s what the EDI translator does. It takes the X12 format from your inbound EDI and converts into the file structure that your ERP system is looking to see. Once it’s been converted into that native format, your translator simply FTPs (File Transport Protocol) it into a directory that your ERP system is scanning all during the day, pulls the document in, and it’s like there’s an intermediary file where each field will fit into the appropriate space within your ERP system. So, for example, PO numbers will go into the PO number field in your ERP system, and so on and so forth. So, that’s really how EDI talks with your system – through the conversion from X12 into native file format.
Then, it’s the same thing for outbound documents; your system will create a native file format for that document, and the translator will put it into X12, so when your trading partner receives it, their system can interpret it.
Want to learn more about EDI or IDEA’s IDX services? Contact Tom Guzik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The ANSI X12 is one of the largest electronic data interchange (EDI) standards available. The Industry Data Exchange (IDX) uses EDIPro, a subset of the larger ANSI X12 standard.