The 2-corner model, also known as point-to-point connection, may require a time-consuming setup and is usually implemented by internal IT teams. Because of the high maintenance effort and the long setup time, this model does not scale well. Moreover, each partner needs to perform their own setup since the connections cannot be reused for several partners.
In this model, the messages are transferred through a central node that is provided by a relevant service provider. The main drawback of this model is its lack of flexibility which results from the fact that both the sender and the recipient have to use the same service provider. As a consequence, it is not really suited for large supply chains.
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.
Applicability Statement 2 (AS2) is a standard for secure data transfer through the Internet. It clearly defines how a connection is established, how data validation and transmission are performed, and how a confirmation of receipt is provided. Hence, a message is encrypted. Its origin is confirmed by a digital signature. The respective confirmation of receipt is provided by means of a Message Disposition Notification (MDN) which is also deemed proof of successful transmission.
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.
A barcode is an optoelectronically readable sign. It consists of parallel lines and spaces of varying sizes. Barcodes can be found, for instance, on the packaging of convenience goods. The barcode represents data that is stored in binary symbols. As it is not human-readable, readers are needed. Those can be scanners or cameras as used, for example, in shops where the products selected by the customers are scanned at the checkout. The data thus read out can be further processed electronically.
An alternative to barcodes are the so-called QR codes.
In contrast to the post-audit model, the clearance model is a trilateral model encompassing the seller, the buyer, and the tax authority. Before any invoice is issued, the seller of a good or service needs to obtain the tax authority's approval. That means the issuance of every invoice is declared in real time with the relevant tax authority and approved by it. All invoices are immediately registered with the tax authorities, which means that they are informed about any VAT amount collected.
EDI clearing center refers to a central point that supports all common message formats and communication protocols, what makes it an ideal, easy-to-use EDI outsourcing solution. Instead of using rigid point-to-point connections with individual partners, our customers communicate with Comarch's central clearing center, which guarantees them maximum flexibility in choosing business partners.
A cloud service provider is an external company that offers a cloud-based platform and infrastructure as well as cloud-based applications and storage services. Similar to a house owner paying for utilities such as electricity or gas, companies generally only pay for the scope of cloud services that they need for their business requirements and that they actually use.
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.
In the context of EDI or OCR, data enrichment refers to the complementing of a document’s records with additional information. When you receive an EDI message or a PDF document, e.g. an invoice, it contains different data (of the seller and the buyer) such as tax identification number, address, phone number, etc. Further information about your business partner, that is not listed in the invoice, is stored in your database. The data enrichment uses this data registered in your systems to add the information “missing” in the invoice document. A typical example would be the addition of the cost center.
A data signature is a mathematical procedure to verify authenticity and integrity of a message, software, or digital document. In many countries, this digital signature is as legally binding as the traditional signing of a document by one's own hand.
The correctness of a document's content can be ensured by suitable validations. Thus, mathematical (e.g. sum checks, verification of percentages), commercial (e.g. correct tax rate), and individual validations (e.g. comparison with price catalog) are performed, amongst others.
Data encryption is a method to encode information (messages or files) so that only authorized parties can read or access it. Encryption software uses complex algorithms to encrypt the data sent. Upon receipt, the data can be decrypted with a key provided by the sender of the respective message.
This symbol stands for the EDIFACT message type for despatch advices.
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.
Principles of properly maintaining, keeping, and storing books, records, and documents in electronic form and for data access. Stipulate that documents that are subject to retention have to be stored in an electronic archiving system. They also define the respective retention periods. Criteria of archiving are, amongst others: traceability and verifiability, completeness, correctness, orderliness, immutability, protection from loss, as well as timely posting and recording. When using Comarch Archive, these criteria are met.
The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), which is developed and managed by Dun & Bradstreet, assigns a unique numeric identifier, i.e. the nine-digit DUNS number, to a single business entity.
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 on adopted by the healthcare and building industries. In 2015, the subset was taken over by GS1.
The abbreviation stands for European Article Number, a barcode standard that was introduced in Europe in 1976. The EAN is a code with check digit. Using EAN, every product can be assigned different information, e.g. country of origin. The code was created on the basis of the UPC codes previously developed in the USA and Canada. In 2005, both systems were unified as Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) by the newly founded GS1.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) refers to the sending, transmitting, and receiving of primarily commercial documents (e.g. purchase order, delivery note, invoice, etc.) in digital and structured form using an IT solution. It also covers checking, validating, and enriching these documents. Furthermore, EDI facilitates digitization, i.e. it enables companies to eliminate paper documents. It is cheaper, faster, and less prone to errors than e-mail or traditional paper communication.
Read more: https://www.comarch.com/trade-and-services/data-management/edi/
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).
In EDI clearing, the data is sent to a clearing center in a previously defined, structured format. The clearing center is responsible for the so-called clearing, i.e. the transmission and conversion of the data into the format required by the respective business partner's software, as well as the validation or enrichment of this data.
Direct EDI (or point-to-point EDI) refers to a direct EDI connection between two IT systems. The main idea of this concept is to automate the exchange of documents across companies. For example, a purchase order can be sent automatically, i.e. without any human interaction, by the buyer's ERP system and be received by the supplier's system.
In electronic data interchange, so-called “structured” data formats are used. Unlike unstructured formats (e.g. PDF, Word, JPG), EDI formats are machine-readable and enable document creation and exchange to be automated. Depending on industry and IT systems employed, different formats are used. The most common are EDIFACT, XML, SAP IDoc, etc.
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.
EDI Onboarding means the process of connecting a company's business partners to the EDI platform. In this process, Comarch provides support for both the initiating company and all its business partners. If a large number of business partners needs to be onboarded, it is advisable to use the self-onboarding portal since it allows a lot of connections to the platform to be established quickly and intuitively. In this regard, the portal offers different monitoring functions that make it possible for the customer to check the progress of the onboarding process (number of business partners, speed, etc.).
There are various EDI standards that are defined by different organizations (e.g. TRADACOMS, PEPPOL, and ASC X12 as well as ODETTE and GS1). These standards determine the position and order of information within a document format.
As function of the EDI solution, the EDI Tracker fulfills an informative purpose and enables the tracking of the documents exchanged. Furthermore, the documents can be viewed and it is possible to check whether they were delivered correctly or if errors occurred during transmission.
The European E-Invoicing Service Providers Association (EESPA) acts as a trade association at European level for a community of e-invoicing service providers comprising organizations that provide network, business outsourcing, financial, technology, and EDI services. The EESPA is an international non-profit organization under Belgian law. Founded in 2011, it has now more than 70 full and associated members.
Electronic invoicing or e-invoicing means that invoice documents are exchanged between suppliers and buyers in an electronic format (paperless procedure).
Often, business partners use different document formats, which hinders a smooth document exchange. As a solution, Comarch offers format conversion as interface between the business partners. This format conversion enables every link in the supply chain to send and receive documents in its own format.
The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used to transmit data in the Internet via TCP/IP and supports data transfer between computers. It fulfills two tasks: downloading and transmitting. Thus, data can be stored on an FTP server as well as downloaded from there. In particular, FTP is suited for the transmission of large volumes of data since it supports the simultaneous transfer of numerous data items. If the connection is interrupted during such a transfer, the process can be restarted in the position where the interruption occurred.
However, FTP has a major disadvantage: Data transfer via FTP is not secure since it is not encrypted. That means the data can be retrieved by third parties. Therefore, FTP is rarely used in electronic data exchange.
The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is an international initiative for consistent and homogeneous data exchange. As one of the most important GS1 standards, it influences how information, which should be available not only to suppliers but also to distributors, retail chains, online shops, and end customers, is collected, processed, and presented.
This term refers to a GDSN-compliant system for data exchange and synchronization between business partners. The data pool stores product data and provides all necessary functions and workflows for the communication with the GS1 Global Registry and other data pools.
The Global Location Number (GLN) is a GS1 standard used to identify a company or organization as legal entity. GLNs are also used to identify the location of physical or functional units of a company.
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 for 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 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a GS1 standard used to unambiguously identify trade items worldwide. A trade item is any item (product or service) that can be priced, ordered, or invoiced for commercial purposes at any point within the supply chain.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by the US Congress in 1996. HIPAA stipulates 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.
HTTP(S) is the secure version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) with the letter S representing security. In contrast to HTTP, the data is encrypted by means of SSL/TLS. As a result, the data is protected from unauthorized access, i.e. it can hardly be tapped, read, or modified. Still, not all data items are encrypted. This concerns, for instance, IP addresses or the names of websites visited. Also, the data from filled-in forms can be retrieved by third parties. Furthermore, HTTPS does not protect against viruses.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to infrastructure services being provided through the cloud, i.e. an IT provider such as Comarch makes infrastructure, for example storage space or virtualization, available through the Internet, on demand and in a pay-as-you-go model. As user, the client company is responsible for the operating system as well as any data, applications, middleware, and runtimes; the provider, on their part, delivers access to and management of the network, servers, virtualization, and storage needed. The company does not have to maintain or update their own data center locally – the provider takes care of that. They simply access the infrastructure through an API (Application Programming Interface) or a dashboard and operate it.
An interface is a shared boundary between different components of a computer system that is used to exchange or process data. Interfaces can be between humans and machines as well as various machines.
This symbol stands for the EDIFACT message type for invoices or credit notes.
The just-in-time (JIT) delivery is an inventory management strategy that helps speeding up order processing and is applied, in particular, in the procurement of raw materials and in production. It means that the production process is only commenced after a customer has submitted an order; the inventory is delivered on demand.
EDI mapping is a conversion process translating one EDI format into another. In an EDI-ERP mapping, the data structures are translated from a standard EDI format (EDIFACT, ANSI X12, OFTP2, etc.) into a proprietary file (CSV, TXT, SAP IDoc, flat file, or another ERP-specific format) that can be loaded into a back-end system without difficulty.
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.
Read more: https://www.comarch.com/trade-and-services/data-management/master-data-management/
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 Odette File Transfer Protocol (OFTP) is a transmission protocol (its first version was created in 1986) that is very popular with the European automotive industry. OFTP1 is the outdated version that was replaced by OFTP2 in 2007. OFTP2 can be used in point-to-point connections or VANs. The protocol can send and receive requests, exchange files in both directions, as well as encrypt and sign message data which is why it is deemed secure and recommendable.
On-premises software is local software that is installed and run on computers located on the premises of the person or organization using that software, and not in a remote location such as a server farm or cloud. In that case, i.e. if the hardware and software is installed in-house, the respective organization has to manage, update, and eventually replace every component themselves. Thus, maintaining IT infrastructure on site is a big responsibility for users and managers.
OpenPEPPOL is an international non-profit organization that manages the development and maintenance of the PEPPOL network. A
PEPPOL-based solution enables a company to send and receive electronic invoices via a certified PEPPOL Access Point. Comarch is a member of the OpenPEPPOL organization.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) means the electronic conversion of the images of typed, handwritten, or printed text into machine-encoded text, for instance from a scanned document.
This symbol stands for the EDIFACT message type for purchase orders.
This symbol stands for the EDIFACT message type for purchase order responses.
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.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) refers to a service that provides developers of web applications with a computing platform in the cloud.
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.
Read more: https://www.comarch.com/trade-and-services/data-management/resources/peppol-the-background-the-basics-and-the-benefits/
In the PEPPOL network, the partners communicate within the so-called 4-corner model. The four corners of this model are: the sender and their PEPPOL Access Point as well as the recipient and their PEPPOL Access Point.
The sender sends a document to their PEPPOL Access Point from where it is forwarded to the recipient’s PEPPOL Access Point and then to the recipient themselves. If the recipient wants to return a document, they transmit it to their PEPPOL Access Point which sends it to the PEPPOL Access Point of the initial sender from where it is forwarded to that sender.
The PEPPOL Access Point enables connecting to the PEPPOL network. Usually, this access point is provided by EDI vendors like Comarch as service.
Through the PEPPOL Access Point you can exchange electronic documents with business partners who are also connected by such an access point. The respective document exchange follows a similar principle as a phone call: You enter the number of your communication partner and your provider establishes the connection cooperating with your partner’s provider. In the PEPPOL network, the PEPPOL Participant Identifier (or PEPPOL ID), the VAT ID, or the GLN issued by GS1 is used as unique number.
There are more than 200 certified PEPPOL Access Points worldwide. They form the global PEPPOL network through which electronic documents can be exchanged. For this, the document to be sent is first processed by the sender’s own PEPPOL Access Point, then forwarded to the recipient’s PEPPOL Access Point, and finally transferred from there to the recipient.
The Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) developed by PEPPOL use the Universal Business Language (UBL – ISO/IEC 19845). Their newest version, PEPPOL BIS Billing 3.0, is based on the standard EN 16931; correspondingly, the specification is a Core Invoice Usage Specification (CIUS) of this EN 16931. PEPPOL BIS provide specifications for: product catalogs, purchase orders, purchase order confirmations, despatch advices, invoices, and credit notes.
In the post-audit model, business partners can freely exchange invoices provided that the authenticity and integrity of the invoices are ensured. The tax authorities verify VAT in random reviews conducted within a certain period after a relevant transaction was performed. Thus, the legal requirements for electronic invoices mainly concern the content of the invoice and the form of its archiving.
This symbol stands for the EDIFACT message type for price catalogs or item master data.
Generally, the product catalog is an ordered list of a producer’s or distributor’s information about their products or services. This list is presented in structured form. It contains data about, for instance, services, prices, or conditions and can be sorted by different concepts, such as hierarchy or network. A product catalog can be configured so that it is possible for a user to compare the product catalogs of different vendors. In the context of EDI, the product catalog is deemed to be an EDI message that can be sent and received through the EDI network (also WebEDI).
The protocols used by the EDI software define how to securely transfer data from one computer to another. Every protocol comprises a number of rules concerning the encryption and configuration of the data for transmission. There are many types of transmission protocols that were developed – and are continuously being further developed – for the different technologies of data exchange and the different EDI software solutions for the sending and receiving of data. The most popular include: AS2, AS4, FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and OFTP.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA; also referred to as software robotics) is a technology used to automate business processes. It is based on metaphorical software robots (bots) or on artificial intelligence (AI) that perform repetitive, rule-based digital tasks, such as filling in the same information in several places, re-entering data, or copying and pasting, etc.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a subsection of cloud computing. The concept of the SaaS model is that software and required IT infrastructure are operated by an external provider. Thus, the customer does not have to deal with any related issues themselves; they pay the external provider for that. The SaaS model is deemed to be the counterpart of the so-called on-premises model where the customer obtains a license to use the software and is responsible themselves for software operation and related topics such as hosting and maintenance.
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).
The SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) enables data interchange between a client and a server. The server transmits the data via TCP/IP. The data is sent in a secure way; an FTP server is not required. For security, the transmission is encrypted (both the actual data and the access data). That is why an SFTP connection is considered the most secure method to transmit files and directories to a host.
The Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is a GS1 standard used to uniquely identify logistic units. A logistic unit is created for storage or transport purposes and can be identified as well as tracked throughout the complete supply chain. This unit can be composed at will and, thus, comprise anything from a single item to a complete pallet.
This term refers to electronic data in a file structure. This data is not transferred as an image. The most common formats are XML, IDoc, EDIFACT, VDA, X12, etc.
A supply chain is a network established between a company and its suppliers for the production and sale of a certain product or service.
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).
This law holds larger German companies and companies operating in Germany financially responsible for any violation of human rights and/or any environmental misconduct along their supply chains. By virtue of this law, the companies have to identify, analyze, and, where necessary, react to potential risks.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) was founded in 1973. It provides a global network that is used by financial institutions or 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.
The EDI tracking tool allows for the monitoring and controlling of document exchange processes. Status information, error messages, and logs can be transmitted (e.g. as reports) to an IT system or the ticket system of the company or presented in a Comarch interface.
This standard was developed in 1982 as a forerunner of UN/EDIFACT for the retail sector and primarily used in Great Britain. 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 the name of an open library of standardized electronic XML business documents for procurement and transportation. It was developed by a technical committee of OASIS under collaboration of several industry data standards organizations. UBL has its roots in the EDI standards and other derivative XML standards.
The standard United Nations Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce, and Transport (UN/EDIFACT) was developed under the responsibility of the United Nations. 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. Up to now, the VDA 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.