Al Mac had some excellent insight on how the trading partner can be your
worst enemy in the EDI process, and I'll add only one thing to his remarks:
Typically, EDI is driven by the larger trading partner.  When General
Electric says "You will use EDI" then you use EDI.  When General Electric
decides to use the Contact Name field to store the Purchase Order Number,
you're not likely to tell them to pound salt no matter how much the urge
strikes you.

The number one difficulty I had with EDI was NOT setting up the translation
tables (Premenos running on AS/400).  The main issue was _integrating_ EDI
into our daily operations.  When GE sent in a PO, it had to be translated
into our customer numbers, our part numbers and input into our order entry
system.  There's no existing function to do that in O/E, so we had to write
that.  GE wanted an acknowledgement, verifying quantities and prices.
Another new function.  GE wanted a shipping manifest.  Another new function.
Work payments into the picture and you can see that there are potentially
quite a few places your existing system needs to expose an interface to the
outside world.  Unless you simply detail somebody to hand-key the stuff into
the existing applications...

  --buck


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