Types of EDI

Different Types of EDI and a Range of Approaches to Enabling EDI Across a Trading Community.

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is one of the most common forms of structured exchange of business documents between organizations by electronic means. There are many different types of EDI and a range of approaches to enabling EDI across a trading community. Whether looking at EDI for the first time or expanding an existing EDI infrastructure to support a variety of business partners across the globe, there is a method of utilizing EDI that will suit your business needs, technical capabilities and budget. Many larger companies adopt hybrid EDI solutions to connect with their business partners, dependent on size, importance and frequency of their transactions.

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. Read More »

EDI via VAN or EDI Network Services Provider

An alternative to the direct EDI model is an EDI Network Services Provider, which, prior to the Internet, was referred to as a Value-Added Network (VAN). Many businesses prefer this network model to shield them from the ongoing complexities of supporting the varying communication protocols required by different business partners. Read More »

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. Read More »


FTP over VPN, SFTP and FTPS are commonly-used communication protocols for the exchange of EDI documents via the Internet. Any of these can be used to connect to business partners directly (Direct EDI) or via an EDI Network Services Provider. Read More »


Unlike EDI via AS2, Web EDI conducts EDI using a standard Internet browser. Organizations use different online forms to exchange information with business partners. Web EDI makes EDI easy and affordable for small- and medium-sized organizations and companies that have only occasional need to utilize such a service. Read More »

Mobile EDI

Users have traditionally accessed EDI by a private network such as a VAN 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 restrictions with the mobile devices available. The screen quality and size of devices has been unsuitable, but there is a growing industry developing software applications (‘apps’) for downloading onto mobile devices so it is 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. Read More »

EDI Outsourcing

EDI Outsourcing (also referred to as B2B Managed Services and B2B Outsourcing) is a fast-growing option that enables companies to use external specialist 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 want to use their internal resources to undertake this ongoing type of work so they outsource it instead. Read More »

EDI Software

Implementing EDI software behind a company firewall is sometimes the preferred option. This approach assumes that a company has the correct internal resources to be able to implement the software and maintain it on an ongoing basis. Read More »