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How to Learn EDI: Courses, Training, and Other Resources

Daisy Waithereo Wambua - December 30, 2020


The expansion of the Internet has caused many traditional forms of business communication to become outdated. Companies want to cut back on costs and increase efficiency. Part of this involves sharing documents and information within a company and between companies.

As such, the demand for electronic data interchange (EDI) is constantly growing. Businesses want to eliminate the use of paper while still conducting day-to-day operations smoothly. Keep reading to learn which courses and resources you can use to become an expert on EDI.

What Is EDI?

Electronic Data Interchange is the electronic transfer of documents from one company to another. This technology helps organizations speed up logistics and timelines by minimizing and eliminating errors. It utilizes a standard format to transfer files between computers.

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This type of technology is used by everyone from retailers to manufacturers, health care providers, and insurers. EDI technology is used to send information regarding orders, invoices, and payments.

It is essential to eliminating paper trails and unnecessary mail. Instead, documents are transferred directly from the sender’s computer to the recipient’s.

What Is EDI Used For?

This software solution assists businesses in exchanging documents and data created on a variety of platforms and programs. Before, companies would rely on other modes of communication such as calling, emailing, faxing, or mailing. Below is a list of the ways that EDI solutions can help your business.

  • Managing inventory. Companies in the retail sector rely on EDI to keep track of goods. Through the software, businesses can easily track the movement of goods and replenish stock accordingly.
  • Updating customers. Through EDI, customers can get updated information about the availability and price of products. They can also make payments directly and track their goods after shipment.
  • Facilitating payments. EDI can be used in banking services to complete activities that were formerly labor-intensive. This may range from making payments, to processing and collecting revenue from accounts.

Types of Electronic Data Interchange

EDI is the most popular way for businesses to exchange information. There are several different types of EDIs, all of which facilitate computer to computer exchange. As a business owner, you can choose which one offers the best solutions for you in terms of cost, efficiency, and technical ability.

EDI is a fast, convenient, reliable, and accurate way for trading partners to track data exchanges. Here are some of the types of EDI you can utilize to improve your business.

Direct EDI

This is also referred to as a point-to-point connection. It establishes a singular connection between two trading partners. It is commonly used by large corporations that exchange large volumes of EDI documents .

EDI via AS2

This is a form of Internet communication protocol that allows documents to be transferred digitally. It provides real-time and secure exchange of information and is commonly used in the retail sector.

EDI via VAN

Value added networks are private networks that facilitate the transfer of documents between business partners. In this type of EDI, each organization has a digital mailbox that is used to conduct communications.

Each company is responsible for regularly checking the mailbox. This platform inspects and authenticates all EDI messages, conducts audits, and covers backup and recovery of all transactions.

Web EDI

This involves a standard exchange of information over the Internet. Organizations can utilize different online platforms for an easy and affordable transfer. It is common among small businesses and organizations.

Mobile EDI

This EDI option is relatively limited, mainly because of security threats on mobile devices.

Outsourced EDI

This common form of EDI is also referred to as managed services. In it, companies utilize external options to manage their business environment. This is usually integrated with an enterprise resource planning system.

Learning EDI

A silver laptop sits open on a desk next to a black desktop computer and keyboard, a smartphone, and a black tablet device.
Learning about EDI can be a daunting task, so make sure you are choosing the online course that is best for you.

EDI is instrumental in helping you exchange business documents faster and securely. This skill is essential in helping businesses increase in value by lowering costs and improving speed and accuracy. Learning EDI will improve your resume significantly and increase your chances of employment.

How Long Does It Take to Learn EDI?

The best way to learn any skill will vary from student to student. The amount of time it might take you to learn the different EDI principles and how to integrate them will depend on several factors, including your availability, financial resources, and priorities.

People with a background in accounting, finance, or business administration will have an easier time understanding EDI. However, these courses are not a prerequisite to grasping the concept.

If you really want to become an EDI developer or analyst, you should start by checking out some resources online and following the steps listed below.

How to Learn EDI: Step-by-Step

These simple steps will guide you in becoming proficient in EDI.

  1. Install EDI software. Download and install EDI software so you can start learning. This will allow you to start practicing as you study.
  2. Watch online tutorials. Many EDI experts will post videos online demonstrating how to use EDI software and applications. This will help you get an idea of what type of EDI is best for your company.
  3. Sign up for EDI training. There are plenty of training courses online to help you develop your skills.
  4. Read books. You can review EDI books for reference as you study.
  5. Practice. The more you practice using EDI applications, the more you will improve.

The Best EDI Courses and Training

A person looks at graphs on their smartphone, while another person uses a pen to point at a piece of paper covered in graphs and charts.
There are several types of EDI that are used to send information between companies.

Selecting the best training is key to becoming an expert. Businesses are looking for people with skills in integrating EDI software with other specific platforms such as ERP and Oracle.

With increasing access to technology and more communication taking place online, people who know how to transfer data digitally are in increasingly high demand. Below are some courses that can help you study.

Best In-Person EDI Classes

Many students enjoy the easy access to instructors that classrooms provide. Face-to-face interaction can be very beneficial to learning. If this is what you’re looking for, below is a list of in-person courses you can consider.

EDI Fundamentals and Best Practices: General

  • Provider: EDI Academy
  • Time: 2 days
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $1,500

The course gives a broad overview of EDI, and also includes many real-world examples of how it works. If you aspire to work with EDI, this course will give you an understanding or some of the challenges you may face, as well as best practices for using this technology.

The class covers EDI standards, EDI communications document tracking and monitoring concepts, EDI translator, and major EDI advance.

Advanced EDI Training All Industries- Deep Into Mapping and Best Practices

  • Provider: EDI Academy
  • Time: 2 days
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $1,500

In this beginners’ course, you will learn both the strategic and operational components of EDI. It also includes lessons on loops and nested loops. You will also participate in mapping exercises and discuss the latest advancements in the EDI industry.

Online EDI Courses

Attending an online class can be equally as beneficial as a physical class if you are self-motivated. If you are taking a course on a well-known learning website, you can rest assured that the education you receive will be at a high standard. Online learning is convenient and often cheaper than in-person classes. Below are the best online courses available.

Project Procurement Management

  • Provider: Reed
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $317

This program mainly teaches about the four main processes of procurement. It includes video lessons and also provides you with online study materials and mock exams. The course lessons cover supply chain basics and the advantages of E-SCM and procurement.

SAP IDOC Training

  • Provider: Uplatz
  • Time: 15 hours
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $100

This is an excellent course for learning the basics of EDI, application link enabling (ALE), and how to use intermediate documents (IDOC). Students will learn about outbound IDOC processing, configuring ALE/IDOC, and troubleshooting problems with IDOCs.

Best EDI Books

Reading books is a good way to supplement your EDI software studies. The books listed below can provide you with a lot of useful background information in EDI, plus more advanced applications of the technology.

Architecting EDI with SAP IDocs: the Comprehensive Guide by Emmanuel Hadzipetros

This book will help you master EDI concepts and principles, and explore business processes, architecture, and administration. You will also learn to configure IDOCs for business-to-business scenarios. This text has standard information that is useful in multiple industries.

Electronic data Interchange-edit made simple by Praveen Iyer

In this book, you will get to learn about the various EDI software available, and how to use them to improve communication. It will also help clear up any industry jargon that you may have found confusing.

A to Z of EDI and its Role in E-Commerce by Nahid Jilovec

This comprehensive guide will help you implement EDI in your business. It will help you get familiar with the practical and theoretical aspects of EDI. It includes detailed descriptions of the forms used for evaluating vendors and a glossary of terms.

ALE, EDI and IDoc Technologies for SAP, 2nd Edition by Arvind Nagpal

This text will help you master ALE, IDOC, and EDI technologies. It will teach you about the EDI format, how to implement ALE, and how to develop custom scenarios.

Online EDI Resources

There are plenty of resources online that can help you learn a bit more about EDI. Below is a list of resources you should consider checking out.

SAP EDI Training- Practical Guide to SAP EDI Implementation

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Time: 24 lectures
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $9.99

This is a fantastic course for students who want to review the basics of EDI. It also covers IDOC creation and processing and gives examples of scenarios faced by real businesses.

Electronic Data Interchange Training

In this training course, you will learn the difference between X12, EDIFACT, and XML. The class also provides an introduction to EDI, data mapping, understanding EDI standards and communication software, and VAN.

Should You Study EDI?

EDI is popular because it allows businesses to significantly cut back on operating costs, integrate their work, and share documents. Today, EDI transactions have surpassed 20 billion and are still rising.

Businesses are moving away from manual processes in favor of this new, cost-saving method. As such, there will be an increasing demand for professionals with EDI skills.

You should study EDI if you want to increase your prospects of landing a job in a variety of industries. With more companies adopting these business processes, you could be in high demand.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Daisy Waithereo Wambua

About the author: Daisy is a seasoned writer with a decade of experience in writing, proofreading, and editing. She has spoken at Maseno University to help young women explore new careers and learn more about technology. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Public Relations, a Certificate in Web Development, and a Master's Degree in International Studies.

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