Many of these standards first appeared in the early 1980s. The standards will prescribe formats, sets of characters and data elements used for the exchange of business documents and forms. The full list of X12 documents contains all important business documents, including orders and invoices. There are some barriers to the introduction of electronic data exchange. One of the most important obstacles is the accompanying change in business processes. Existing paper processing processes may not be suitable for EDI and may require modifications to allow automated processing of business documents. For example, a company may receive most of its goods per 1 or 2 days of shipping and all invoices in the mail. The existing procedure can therefore expect that goods will generally be received before the invoice. In the case of EDI, the invoice is normally shipped when shipping the goods and therefore requires a process that processes a large number of invoices whose goods have not yet been received. The main obstacle to successful implementation of EDI is the perception that many companies have of the nature of EDI. Many view EDI as a technical data format; It would be more accurate to infer from the company`s point of view that EDI is a system for exchanging business documents with external companies and integrating data from these documents into the company`s internal systems. EDI`s successful implementations take into account the impact of external information generated on their internal systems and validate the business information received. For example, a supplier`s ability to update a retailer`s lender system without proper controls or balances would expose the business to significant risk.
Companies that are new to the implementation of EDI need to understand the underlying business process and apply appropriate judgment. Organizations that send or receive documents with each other are referred to as “business partners” in EDI terminology. Business partners agree on specific information to be provided and how it will be used. This is done in human-readable specifications (also known as message implementation guidelines). While the standards are similar to building standards, the specifications are similar to the plans. (The specifications can also be called “mapping,” but the term mapping is usually reserved for certain machine-readable instructions that are given to the translation software.) Larger commercial “hubs” have messaging policies that reflect their edi-edi processing management processes, and are generally unwilling to change their EDI business practices to meet the requirements of their trading partners. Often, in a large company, these EDI guidelines are written in such a way as to be generic enough to be used by different sectors or departments and therefore contain information that is not necessary for a certain exchange of business documents.