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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
It refers to the structured transmission of data between organizations by electronic means.

It is more than mere E-mail; for instance, organizations might replace bills of lading and even checks with appropriate EDI messages. It also refers specifically to a family of standards, including the X12 series.

However, EDI also exhibits its pre-Internet roots, and the standards tend to focus on ASCII-formatted single messages rather than the whole sequence of conditions and exchanges that make up an inter-organization business process.

In 1992, a survey of Canadian businesses found at least 140 that had adopted some form of EDI, but that many (in the sample) "[had] not benefited from implementing EDI, and that they [had] in fact been disadvantaged by it." Bergeron, François; Louis Raymond (1992). "The advantages of electronic data interchange". ACM SIGMIS Database 19..31.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology in a 1996 publication defines Electronic Data Interchange as "the computer-to-computer interchange of strictly formatted messages that represent documents other than monetary instruments.

EDI implies a sequence of messages between two parties, either of whom may serve as originator or recipient. The formatted data representing the documents may be transmitted from originator to recipient via telecommunications or physically transported on electronic storage media."

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Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.