electronic data interchange

WHAT S DATA?

Data are units of information, often numeric, that are collected through observation. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative or quantitative variables about one or more persons or objects, while a datum is a single value of a single variable. 

TYPES OF DATA

Qualitative Data Type

Qualitative or Categorical Data describes the object under consideration using a finite set of discrete classes. It means that this type of data can’t be counted or measured easily using numbers and therefore divided into categories. The gender of a person (male, female, or others) is a good example of this data type.

These are usually extracted from audio, images, or text medium. Another example can be of a smartphone brand that provides information about the current rating, the color of the phone, category of the phone, and so on. All this information can be categorized as Qualitative data. There are two subcategories under this:

Nominal

These are the set of values that don’t possess a natural ordering. Let’s understand this with some examples. The color of a smartphone can be considered as a nominal data type as we can’t compare one color with others.

It is not possible to state that ‘Red’ is greater than ‘Blue’. The gender of a person is another one where we can’t differentiate between male, female, or others. Mobile phone categories whether it is midrange, budget segment, or premium smartphone is also nominal data type.

Ordinal

These types of values have a natural ordering while maintaining their class of values. If we consider the size of a clothing brand then we can easily sort them according to their name tag in the order of small < medium < large. The grading system while marking candidates in a test can also be considered as an ordinal data type where A+ is definitely better than B grade. 

These categories help us deciding which encoding strategy can be applied to which type of data. Data encoding for Qualitative data is important because machine learning models can’t handle these values directly and needed to be converted to numerical types as the models are mathematical in nature.

For nominal data type where there is no comparison among the categories, one-hot encoding can be applied which is similar to binary coding considering there are in less number and for the ordinal data type, label encoding can be applied which is a form of integer encoding.

WHAT IS ELECTRONIC DATA?

What is the meaning of electronic data?

 Electronic data can stand for. data in general that is exchanged via electronic communication lines. digital data in particular. Data (computing), i.e. computer-processable data as opposed to executable code.

WHAT IS ELECTRONIC DATA INTERCHANGE?

Electronic data interchange is the electronic movement of data between or within an organization in a computer retrievable data format that allows the transfer of data from one location to another without rekeying. It is based on agreed message standards, and it can be done without the need for any human intervention. Different EDI systems have different tools, but there are some very common features in all the Electronic Data Interchange solution. Nowadays, most of the businesses are using EDI solutions because of the long list of benefits offered by this impeccable data interchange solution. So, let’s go through the details and features of EDI and EDI solutions.

TYPES OF ELECTRONIC DATA

Below is an outline of the different methods available:

  • Direct EDI/Point-to-point Brought to prominence by Walmart, direct EDI, sometimes called point-to-point EDI, establishes a single connection between two business partners. In this approach, you connect with each business partner individually. It offers control for the business partners and is most commonly used between larger customers and suppliers with a lot of daily transactions. 
  • EDI via VAN Value Added Networks (VANs) are private networks where electronic business documents are exchanged between partners. The VAN provider manages the network and provides companies with mailboxes where they can send and receive EDI documents. 
  • EDI via AS2 AS2 is an Internet communications protocol that enables data to be transmitted securely over the Internet. EDI via AS2 delivers the functionality of EDI with the ubiquity of Internet access. 
  • Web EDI Unlike EDI via AS2, Web EDI conducts EDI using a standard Internet browser. Organisations use different online forms to exchange information with business partners. Web EDI makes EDI easy and affordable for small- and medium-sized organisations and companies that have only occasional need to utilise such a service. Read More »
  • Mobile EDI Users have commonly accessed EDI either by a private network such as Value Added Network or the Internet in order to send and receive EDI-related business documents. Mobile EDI has had limited adoption, in part due to security concerns with mobile devices across an EDI infrastructure, but mainly due to the mobile devices themselves. The quality and size of the screen of most devices has been relatively poor until recently. There is a growing industry for developing software applications or ‘apps’ for downloading onto mobile devices and it will be only be a matter of time before you will be able to download supply chain and EDI related apps from private or corporate app stores. 
  • EDI Outsourcing EDI Outsourcing (also referred to as Managed Services) is a fast-growing option that enables companies to use external resources to manage their EDI environment on a day-to-day basis. This is in part driven by companies wanting to integrate to back office business systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms. Many companies do not have the internal resources to undertake this type of work so they outsource it instead.

Benefits of EDI

  • Speed- One of the most highlighted benefits of EDI is the increased speed of transactions. If a business is using paper documents, then it may take it days to transport from one location to another. In addition to this, manual data interchange is a very time-consuming process as it involves processes like keying and filing. Through EDI, all such hassles are wiped out, and you are able to boost the speed of transactions. EDI boost your transaction speed by 61%.
  • Accuracy – Errors are a part of human nature. That is why the manual data interchange process is vulnerable to errors. But, with EDI, you can attain maximum accuracy, and that’s why it is preferred over traditional data interchange solution. EDI solution wipes out keying and rekeying errors, illegible handwriting, and incorrect document handling.
  • Business efficiency- With minimized human errors, firms are able to harness the advantages of an increased level of efficiency. Instead of focusing on mental and tedious tasks, employees can invest more time in jobs with a higher value. It has been seen that EDI can improve a business customer’s relationship because of the quicker delivery of goods and services.
  •  Cost-effective- Another significant advantage of EDI is cost-effectiveness. By using EDI, organizations’ have witnessed a 35% decrease in expenses related to printing, storing, processing, papers, reproduction and documents retrieval.

Common features of EDI solution

  • Support for EDI standard

You should know that the influx of EDI standards is not new as it has been happening for almost 50 years. In addition to this, EDI document formats have appeared to meet the requirements of specific industries like RosettaNet in High Tech and PEPPOL in European Public Sector. An ideal EDI solution should be able to provide support for all the EDI standards.

  • Support for EDI document types

The initial objective of EDI was limited to invoices and EDI payments only; it quickly addressed the business documents that underpin other key business processes. There are different types of EDI documents like purchase orders, invoices, acknowledgement, shipping notices, financial statements, products and sales catalogues. A good EDI solution offers all the EDI documents.

You should know that there are hundreds of EDI document types available. That is why it has become a necessity to have an Electronic Data Interchange solution services which provide maximum EDI documents.

  • Support for communication protocols

The list of communication protocols supporting EDI transactions is very long. Some of the most common communication protocols are FTP, OFTP, HTTP, etc. If you don’t want any such hassle, then you should choose EDI solution that supports most of the communication protocols. It helps you to connect with all the trading partners easily.

EDI is one of the quickest and seamless ways of data integration for it minimizes not only manual workload but also reduces error. At the same time, it has also proved to be a cost effective solution for a firm. You should never miss analyzing an EDI solution against the features mentioned in this blog post.

However, if you want to reap the advantages of EDI solution, you should always go for an EDI managed service provider. Here at Data Integration Specialist, we offer remote EDI expert to either complement your existing EDI solution or to act as a remote EDI coordinator.

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