Commerce Integrations | EDI | EDI Integrations

What is EDI Integration? How can it help your business?

What is EDI Integration? How can it help your business?

By Dave Malda, Director, Ecommerce and EDI Integration Solutions

Learn how to streamline and automate EDI transactions for enhanced efficiency. 

Today’s consumers demand wow-worthy experiences from brands.

With omnichannel strategies becoming more innovative and unique everyday, operating with peak efficiency is imperative for retailers looking to exceed expectations and foster brand loyalty. If your business relies heavily on manual workflows, there’s far less time and opportunity to focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences.

For ecommerce players, managing data exchanges between trading partners, online marketplaces, webstores, and other systems is overwhelming, time-consuming, and error-prone when done manually. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a major component of ecommerce operations, and streamlining EDI transactions can play a major role in enhancing operational efficiency.

Read on to learn how EDI integration can benefit your business.

What is EDI?

EDI is a standardized format for businesses to exchange information, order, and purchase documents along the supply chain with partners. By using a consistent format between businesses, retailers can automate and accelerate document exchanges and data translations.

In other words, EDI is the common format for transacting documents from Business A (retailer) to Business B (brand). Common EDI documents include purchase orders (EDI 850), invoices (EDI 810), inventory levels (EDI 846) and advanced shipping notices (EDI 856). This data also needs to mirror itself in two places; in the retailer marketplace, such as Amazon, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Home Depot, CommerceHub, etc., and also in an Enterprise Resource Platform (ERP), such as NetSuite, Sage, Quickbooks, Microsoft Dynamics, etc. That’s where EDI integration comes in.

What is EDI integration?

Relying on manual efforts to process EDI documents and input data across systems makes retailers more vulnerable to costly errors such as inaccurate addresses, inventory, shipping info, etc. With EDI integration, you can easily automate bi-directonal data exchanges between EDI, ERP, and other back-end systems.

EDI integration technology leverages automation to transfer data from an EDI document directly to various business systems, including ERP, WMS, CMS, shipping solutions, accounting software, and more.

Why EDI integration?

EDI integration is essential in modern business environments because of its ability to rapidly accelerate and streamline communications between trading partners, ensure adherence to guidelines, and enhance overall efficiency.

EDI integration minimizes manual processes, reduces errors, and accelerates transaction processing times. It establishes a seamless flow of information across disparate systems and platforms, facilitating real-time visibility into supply chain operations and enabling companies to respond to changing market and customer demands. EDI is a critical piece in driving the supply chain across a multitude of verticals including commerce and retail, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, logistics, automotive, financial services, and government.

Integrating EDI and ERP systems

If a customer places an order through a retailer like Amazon, processing that order manually involves hiring someone to hand-key the order and customer information into the ERP, CRM, or account system to trigger another chain of events, such as shipping and packing.

Not only is this taxing on staff, but it also creates bottlenecks and takes them away from helping customers with more pressing matters. One simple misstep — such as an inaccurate address or incorrect order fulfillment — can lead to both unhappy trading partners and customers, ultimately hurting the bottom line.

If these processes are automated with EDI integration, end-to-end fulfillment processes become more efficient for your team members, your retail partners, and your customers.

How does EDI integration work?

EDI integration is a process by which different computer systems and software applications exchange business documents and data electronically, following specific standards and protocols. Here are some of the facets that make up EDI integration:

  • Data Mapping

    Data mapping involves identifying which data elements in one system correspond to those in another system. For example, mapping the “customer name” field in one system to the corresponding field in another system.

  • Translation

    Once data mapping is established, the data must be translated into a standard EDI format. Some common EDI standards include all EDI (X12, EDIFACT, TRADACOMS, XML, CICA, HL7, etc.), XML – (WSDL, XSD), cXML, Flat Text Structures, Hierarchical Text Structures, and more. Each standard defines the structure and format of different business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notices.

  • Validation

    Upon receiving the EDI documents, the receiving system validates the data for compliance with the EDI standard and performs any necessary checks for data integrity and accuracy. Validation helps ensure that the received data is consistent and error-free.

  • Workflow Integration

    This is one of the key elements of EDI integration. Once validated, the EDI data is integrated into the recipient’s business processes and systems. These systems may include ERP systems, CRM, WMS, shipping solutions, and more.

  • Acknowledgment

    After EDI documents are processed, the receiving system sends  acknowledgments to the sender to confirm the successful receipt and processing of those documents. This helps maintain data integrity and ensures both parties that the transaction was completed successfully.

How does EDI integration benefit your business?

  • Eliminate manual and duplicate data entry

    Automating the transfer of EDI data from documents to ERP systems, CRM, and other applications allows for the seamless exchange of business documents, such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notices. This reduces manual data entry, minimizes errors, and alleviates strain on resources.

  • Accelerate data exchanges

    EDI integration automates the exchange of business documents such as orders, invoices, and shipping notices between trading partners and their systems. Automation eliminates manual data entry, which reduces errors and shortens processing time.

  • Reduce costs

    By eliminating manual processes, EDI integration reduces labor costs associated with data entry, document handling, and reconciliation. It also reduces the overhead costs of supplies and adding new headcount just to process orders.

  • Enhance data accuracy and reliability

    Automating EDI data transfers from trading partners to ERP systems and other back-end applications ensures that data is accurately transferred between systems, eliminating the risks of typos, duplication, or other human errors. This can enhance overall data quality and reliability.

  • Streamline business processes

    With EDI integration, transactions can be processed and completed much faster than traditional paper-based methods. This speed is crucial for businesses operating in fast-paced industries where timely communication and order fulfillment are essential.

  • Manage transactions

    EDI integration provides visibility into the status of transactions, orders, and shipments. Businesses can track the movement of products and monitor the progress of orders more effectively, enabling better reporting and forecasting.

  • Improve trading partner communications

    EDI integration facilitates seamless communication and collaboration among trading partners, including suppliers, distributors, and retailers.This streamlines order processing, reduces lead times, and increases accuracy, and ensures that transactions are conducted according to industry and trading partner standards and regulations.

  • Expand your footprint

    EDI integration is scalable and can accommodate the growing needs of businesses as they expand into new markets. It allows organizations to easily add trading partners, business systems, and channels while adapting to ever changing market dynamics and customer demands.

  • Meet customer needs

    Adopting EDI integration can give businesses a competitive edge by enabling them to quickly respond to customer demands, optimize their supply chain processes, and operate more efficiently than competitors still reliant on manual methods.

  • Elevate employees

    By automating tedious, time consuming processes, your team can focus on higher priority work such as helping customers or improving your brand.

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How to tell if you need EDI integration

  • Manual Data Entry and Processing

    Without EDI integration, businesses often rely on manual data entry and processing methods. This can lead to errors, delays, and increased operational costs. Manual entry is not only time-consuming, but also prone to human errors, such as typos or misinterpretations, and incorrect data field input which can result in incorrect orders, shipments, or invoices.

  • Limited Automation and Efficiency

    EDI integration enables automation of various processes, such as order processing, invoicing, and inventory management. Without it, businesses may struggle to achieve high levels of automation and efficiency in their operations. Manual intervention slows down processes, takes time away from staff, and reduces overall productivity, hindering the ability to scale and handle increasing transaction volumes effectively.

  • Reduced Accuracy and Data Integrity

    Manual data entry increases the risk of errors and inconsistencies in the data. Without EDI integration, there’s a higher likelihood of data entry mistakes, duplicate entries, and discrepancies between systems and applications. This lack of data integrity can lead to issues such as incorrect inventory levels, billing errors, and incorrect shipping which can impact customer satisfaction and trading partner relationships.

  • Limited Scalability and Competitiveness

    Businesses without EDI integration have trouble scaling their operations efficiently, especially when managing multiple trading partners, suppliers, and customers. Manual processes can become increasingly burdensome and unsustainable as transaction volumes increase making it difficult to stay competitive and meet market demands.

Why Choose Jitterbit’s iPaaS for EDI Integration?

Jitterbit’s iPaaS integration Platform as a Service, Harmony, offers numerous benefits for businesses who want to achieve optimal efficiency when it comes to transacting with trading partners. 

  • Gain Visibility

    Jitterbit’s iPaaS solution provides a single source of truth for managing trading partners and EDI transactions. This centralization provides a holistic view, so businesses can track the status of transactions in real-time, monitor performance metrics, and proactively identify issues before they impact operations.

  • Scale Easily

    Harmony is designed to scale with a business as it grows. As EDI transaction volumes grow, and new trading partners and systems are added, iPaaS solutions can handle increased data traffic without requiring significant infrastructure investments or manual intervention.

  • Accelerate Integrations

    Jitterbit has pre-built connectors for industry leading ERP systems and CRMs as well as access to thousands of trading partners which allows for the rapid integration of new applications or custom enterprise systems.

  • Automate Workflows

    Our workflow automation capabilities help businesses streamline the exchange of electronic documents, automate repetitive tasks, and ensure seamless data flow between trading partners, enhancing efficiency and reducing errors in business processes.

  • Enhance Agility

    By eliminating the requirement for custom coding, Jitterbit’s EDI integration maintains an unprecedented level of forward compatibility. The impact of future systems upgrades and software migrations is minimized, allowing for near-zero downtime during changes to your IT infrastructure.

  • Get Support

    Jitterbit’s direct EDI integration is backed by the highest level of support found in the B2B industry. Our seasoned EDI professionals have decades of experience, and we provide unparalleled support with rapid response times. This support, coupled with Jitterbit’s commitment to quality, brings proven performance and peace of mind to B2B integration.


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