Basic system equipment: computer, modem and EDI software.
There are three basic hardware implementationss:
EDI software is on the mainframe. This includes the EDI communication software
and the business applications that use the data.
- fast processing of high volume transactions.
- no re-keying or up/down loading of data.
- allows bridging between internal operations (purchasing and accounting).
Companies with high a volume of transactions, long term trading partners and
have or will be integrating EDI internally.
- cost of mainframe software is more expensive than PC software.
- initial setup is time consuming.
EDI software (communications) is on a standalone PC. Information from the
mainframe is keyed into the PC from mainframe printouts, and then sent using
EDI. When data is received it is printed out by the PC and keyed into the
mainframe for processing.
- low cost for system and software.
- quick and easy initial setup.
- microcomputer software is more user friendly.
- errors from re-keying data.
- slow, with limited volume (human dependent).
- user doesn't receive any of the benefits of EDI.
- results of EDI transactions cannot be bridged to internal operations.
- clerical activity is not reduced.
Out going data is downloaded to a PC (flat file) and transferred to trading
partners using EDI. Incoming data is uploaded to the mainframe (same file
format as download) and integrated with running applications. Internal
bridging and processing is on the mainframe.
- Companies that are forced to use EDI by larger trading partners.
- When top management is reluctant, this method can be used as a pilot.
- PC front-end is cheaper than mainframe (software).
- provides higher volume that standalone.
- less chance of errors with up/downloading of data (Vs re-keying).
Companies that want to start EDI quickly and expand its use later.
- more expensive than standalone.
- not as fast as the mainframe.
There are two basic communication links, direct or point-to-point and via third
party network providers.
Trading partners are connected directly. This is done by normal phone lines or
dedicated data lines. Issues that arise with this method are:
This is best suited for companies with a small number of trading partners
- EDI standard to use (ANSI Vs UN).
- communication speed (2400 Vs 28.8).
- hours of operation.
As the number of trading partners increase so does the cost and hassle.
More things to worry about... time zones, communication protocols etc.
Network providers offer a way to communicate with a large number of trading
partners, without the hassles of peer-to-peer. They can convert all incoming
transactions to your communications format and outgoing messages to that of
your trading partners. Benefits provided by third party networks:
The services provided by these network providers come in two basic forms:
Similar to normal mail, trading partners upload their messages, provider sorts
the messages and put them into the correct mailboxes. This service is further
broken into three categories:
- international connections.
- connections to other third party networks (interconnects).
- offer experience and knowledge.
- 24 hour 7 day a week service.
- send only
- receive only
- send and receive
Networks that provide other services are call VANs. These extra services
- eliminate communication compatibility problems.
- eliminate hours of operation conflicts.
- able to reach all trading partners in one call.
- able to receive audit information (activity logs).
- the existence of a buffer between company computer systems offers more
Issues to consider when selecting a third party network provider.
- translation - you upload a flat file and they translate it to the proper
- paper conversion - if your company is unable to receive EDI directly,
they will turn your messages into paper documents.
- Dial-Out - call your trading partners to pick up their EDI messages.
- encryption and authentication - ensure that the sender is legitimate.
- installation and training - help hotlines, guidance with implementation,
help all of your trading partners get setup.
Seems be the same as the postal service and carries. Only the cost of the
transmission is guaranteed. i.e. if customers are lost it is too bad.
This deals with the problems that occur when network providers communicate with
each other. There are five basic problems:
This involves verification that the sender of the message is legitimate.
Little security between networks. Able to send bogus messages to tradinging
partners through improper methods.
- interconnectibility - You and you partners may not be using the same
provider, will you still be able to conduct business?
- security - do they have security and how much? what kind?
- Liability - what happens if data is lost? (affects on your business's
Source says that this should be fixed by end of 1992.(a little dated)
- connect to other networks every 1-3 hours, sometimes longer.
- charge for premium serve which is normal service for better networks.
- receiving network picks up all of its messages from the sending network.
- number of lines and communication speed is limited.
- built-in delays to make interconnects unattractive.
- poor practices within the network company. i.e. back up incoming messages
to tape and then load onto EDI processing computer.
- networks expect transmissions in different formats.
- data is accepted by one network but then refused by the next.
normally detected by the end trading partner (business transaction fails).
- receiving network does not notify the sender about success or failure.
- older systems have been upgraded to handle EDI transactions, but are still
lacking good internal EDI controls.
All providers have these basic fees:
- no receipt is sent to the sender.
There are also other cost involved, depending on the provider you pick or extra
feature you want.
- startup fee - one time.
- installation fee - monthly fixed fee.
- variable message transmission (# of characters or # of documents).
- peak and non-peak hours of operations.
- trading partner data verification.
- connections between other networks.
Last updated March 24, 1995
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