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The Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was founded in 1997 with the aim to create unified standards for the electronic interchange of business transactions across industries. X12 is one of the most widely used EDI messaging standards. It is applied fairly universally in different industries and across diverse use cases. Moreover, it is used as basis for further EDI standards. There are more than 320 X12 transaction standards that are updated regularly, which makes X12 one of the most comprehensive EDI standards used today.


Accounts payable (AP) are money amounts owed to sellers or suppliers for goods or services received but not yet paid for. They are generally represented by invoices due.
In the context of EDI, AP refers to incoming EDI messages and processes accompanying EDI processing.


Accounts receivable (AR) are money amounts that a company is owed for goods or services delivered to or used by customers but not yet paid for. In the balance sheet, these receivables are listed as current assets. Accounts receivable comprises all money amounts owed by customers for purchases on credit.
In the context of EDI, accounts receivable has a slightly different meaning. In that case, AR refers to outgoing EDI messages and processes accompanying EDI processing.



Business to business (B2B) refers to the exchange of goods, services, or information between commercial vendors.


Business to government (B2G, derived from the term B2B) refers to the exchange of goods, services, or information between a commercial vendor and a public procurement entity.


Data-driven Business

Data-driven business models rely on the use, analysis, and interpretation of data in order to improve processes, decision-making, revenue models, and so on. A data-driven approach enables companies to examine and organize their data with the aim to better serve their customers.

Digital Supply (Chain) Integration

The integration of the supply chain is a comprehensive business strategy that establishes a closer working relationship between as many links of the chain as possible. Its objective is to improve reaction and production times as well as to reduce costs.



This is a subset of UN/EDIFACT that contains only the messages used in business applications. It was originally developed for retail and FMCG/consumer goods suppliers in 1987, and later adopted by the healthcare and building industries. In 2015, the subset was taken over by GS1.


Electronic data interchange (EDI) refers to the use of an IT solution for the sending, transmission, and receipt of primarily commercial documents in digital and structured form (for example, purchase orders, delivery notes, invoices, etc.). It checks, validates, and enriches these documents. EDI facilitates digitization, enabling companies to eliminate paper documents. It is cheaper, faster, and less prone to errors than email or traditional paper communication.

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EDI Archive

This is the archive where a company's electronic documents exchanged via EDI are stored. The EDI archive complies with the legal requirements for document storage (concerning, for example, invoices).

EDI Harmonization

This term means the unification of the EDI process if a company uses different providers, formats, or channels in its document exchange. EDI harmonization aims at making the EDI process simpler, more secure, and more cost-effective.



The non-profit standards organization issues and maintains different numbering schemes for global trade. In particular, GS1 is known for developing the barcode and implementing standards such as EANCOM, GLN, and GS1 XML in supply chains of the retail, healthcare, transport, and logistics industries.


One of the two standards recommended by GS1 for electronic business communication. GS1 XML does not replace GS1 EANCOM, but offers another technology standard supporting the interchange of transaction data in specific industries. Applying the GS1 XML specification provides a standardized, predictable structure of electronic business messages that enables trading partners to quickly, efficiently, and precisely communicate business data – irrespective of their internal hardware or software.



The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by the US Congress in 1996. The HIPAA stipulated the national standards for electronic transactions in the healthcare sector as well as national identifiers for suppliers, healthcare insurance providers, and employers. The standards based on X12 are to increase efficiency and effectiveness in healthcare by boosting the use of EDI in the US healthcare system.



Master data management (MDM) is used to efficiently and economically synchronize product data (such as product category, packaging and labelling information, storage requirements, and notes on consumption) between all partners in a supply chain.

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The organization was originally established as a project by experts from European vehicle manufacturers who wanted to make use of the rapid developments in information and communications technology (ICT). The results of previous activities by several national committees convinced those experts that cooperation was necessary to develop a pan-European EDI standard. Thus, the Organization for Data Exchange by Tele-Transmission in Europe (ODETTE) was founded.


The Onlinezugangsgesetz-konforme Rechnungseingangsplattform (OZG-RE; platform for invoice receipt in conformity with the German law on online access) is a portal where invoices can be created and sent in accordance with the XRechnung standard. It is exclusively meant for suppliers of independent legal entities charged with public administration tasks (indirect federal administration) and the cooperating federal states.



Procure to pay or purchase to pay (P2P) refers to activities within the procurement process, including goods procurement and receipt as well as invoice payment. P2P covers the complete process chain within a company, from the purchase order for raw materials needed for production or service performance to the final payment.


The Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine (PEPPOL) enables trading partners to exchange standards-based electronic documents through the PEPPOL network (applying a four-corner model). Those electronic documents comprise purchase orders, delivery notes, invoices, catalogs, message level responses, and more. PEPPOL was founded with the intention to reduce costs in public procurement. Nowadays, the concept is no longer just Pan-European, as several countries worldwide (such as Australia and Singapore) are interested in using PEPPOL.

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SAP IDocs (intermediate documents) are standardized documents that are used for communication and data exchange between SAP and non-SAP systems. They are similar to EDI documents and are commonly used for data or document exchange (purchase orders, invoices, or advance shipping notices).

Supply Chain 4.0

This term refers to the reorganization of supply chains – design and planning, production, distribution, consumption, and reverse logistics – with the help of modern smart technologies (digitization, the Internet of things, and machine to machine communication).


The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) was founded in 1973. It provides a global network that is used by financial institutions and banks to exchange messages on financial transactions. The better part of interbank communication runs through the SWIFT network. The corresponding document standard is divided into four areas: payments and transfers, trade services, securities, and trading.



This standard was developed in 1982 as a forerunner of UN/EDIFACT for the retail sector and primarily used in the United Kingdom. Although it is increasingly made obsolete by the EDIFACT subset, EANCOM, TRADACOMS is still mostly used for EDI communication in the British retail sector.



Universal Business Language (UBL) is an open library of standard electronic XML business documents for procurement and transportation. It was developed by a technical committee of OASIS in collaboration with several industry data standards organizations. UBL has its roots in the EDI standards and other derivative XML standards.


UN/EDIFACT stands for United Nations Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce, and Transport. It was adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ISO 9735 and has become the international standard for EDI.



This organization develops standards and best practices in answer to the needs of the German automotive industry. To date, the VDA has developed 30 messages covering the requirements of companies such as VW, Audi, Bosch, Continental, and Daimler.



WebEDI is a user interface of the EDI platform that enables receiving, creating, and sending documents similar to an electronic mailbox. Typical users of WebEDI are business partners who only send a small number of documents, are at a technical level that prevents them from establishing an interface connection, or are currently not able to set up a direct EDI connection for other reasons.


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