During the many steps of an EDI onboarding process, the last step – EDI testing – is crucial. It determines whether your onboarding process is sped up or slowed down.
A successful EDI testing will earn an EDI certification, which proves that your company is fully EDI capable and ready to take on the EDI journey.
EDI certification refers to the successful EDI testing results. This test is aimed to:
- Confirm that you, as a new trading partner, satisfy the set of demands put forward – both technical-wise and informational-wise.
- Validate the fact that you can meet the industry’s requirements regarding consumer privacy and other industry standards.
- Ensure that the EDI data transmission flows smoothly.
Both EDI software and hardware need to obtain an EDI certification.
The faster one obtains the certification, the faster the EDI system can contribute towards revenue generation by shortening the business cycles and automating manual data entry processes. Furthermore, EDI certification has a direct impact on the onboarding process – it can either hinder or accelerate the entire procedure. Remember, a speedy or delayed onboarding can cause direct harm to the bottom line – profit, scorecard, and even customer relationships.
In short, EDI certification plays a vital role in a business, especially during the EDI partner onboarding procedure.
As mentioned earlier, to obtain an EDI certificate, businesses need to pass EDI testing.
Is EDI testing necessary?
EDI testing is important. It typically takes place during the last stage of the onboarding process. Businesses take the test in order to make sure that:
- There are no technical issues
- The goods flow smoothly so that the final payment is correct
- There is alignment between the supplier data and the data registered
Besides, test automation tools need to be developed, too, so that EDI applications are tested to ensure efficiency.
General testing process
The final goal of the testing process is to compare all the elements in the EDI testing file with the baseline file. This allows the vendors to confirm the information regarding the newly generated files regarding the product, costs, etc.
The information then is cross-checked. Should any discrepancies be spotted, amends will be made based on mutual agreement. The data, of course, need to meet the regulations and established guidelines.
The testing process involves a variety of data sources. Again, the data exchange is complex in nature, so it is important to back up the crucial data. The deployment of the workflow needs to be flawless and not interfere with the overall system at the same time.
Do your homework
A lot of organizations provide quick tips or points that you need to pay attention to during EDI testing. This site of frequently asked questions on the website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is an example.
Always do your homework before taking on any form of test.
Challenges in EDI testing
EDI testing is essential. Just like any other test, it poses several challenges for EDI trading partners.
Manually submitting each transaction and validating its outcome while testing EDI-based apps can be time-consuming and error-prone. It can be even more painful when EDI testers do not perform enough test cases. To be specific, these cases involve managing hierarchical and complicated data sets.
System not understanding the data format
Sometimes, the partner’s systems cannot read certain file formats. This can be a hassle to deal with since the data needs to be validated – otherwise, the testing process is hindered. OIftentimes, traditional EDI have more difficulty dealing with the variety of file types in comparison to modern EDI.
A business EDI network becomes more sophisticated as it coordinates with more partners, manufacturers, and suppliers as part of its trading. In detail, this complication lies in the connection from one organization to multiple networks while handling problems while authenticating the transactions. Of course, there is also specific regulation and standard one needs to deal with.
Due to the intricate nature of the processes, EDI-based application testing requires a significant amount of man-hours. It is highly suggested that you seek EDI-based automation services.
EDI data compliance
One of the most difficult tasks is converting EDI data from the format of one or more trading partners to the format required by the recipient. Being EDI capable is not enough. One also needs to be EDI compliant, which means the company can translate the file into the file format per the partner’s requirement.
Connecting legacy systems to modern applications
When an organization has a legacy system or application in place, there will a number of difficulties, namely the IT skills involved and the interpretation of the report format.
EDI testing strategy
Before the actual testing, you need to prove that you have the ability to exchange data via EDI platforms. The transactions should be performed via EDI mapping, which means you convert the internal data structures into standard EDI formats and vice versa.
Once that step is completed, you will be tested on a variety of EDI testing cases.
However, one of the most important things to keep in mind, whether the test is performed in-house or outsourced, is to make sure that your EDI documents are processed into your backend system. In other words, you must be able to perform end-to-end testing. Have your backend system that actually processes the EDI document – whether it is ERP, WMS, etc. – tested.
Doing so will prevent any future unwanted, expensive chargebacks or downtime. You and your team will not be running around trying to figure out the problem, while this matter could have been handled during the EDI testing phase.
Have an expert present
Remember, there is no chargeback during EDI testing. Therefore, make sure you have figured out all the rules and related information, namely:
- Is there anything you should pay attention to when processing the orders? For example, are there any taxes or discounts? If you are not sure about this information, make sure you have the account manager jumping in and help with answering these questions.
- How will the products be shipped? Who is your main carrier?
- Are there any special terms used for when a purchase order has been received, or when an invoice needs to be paid?
All these seemingly trivial rules need to be figured out during the EDI testing phase. Otherwise, you are risking incurring chargebacks in the future.
EDI test cases
Last but not least are a number of popular EDI testing types. They do not come up during every EDI testing, as it also depends on the industry and the regulations.
Verifies the EDI transaction’s syntactical accuracy by examining elements including valid segments, segment order, and elemental properties.
As the name suggests, this type of testing determines whether your transactions follow:
- The implementation guide of your partner,
- The EDI mapping specifications, and
- Unique EDI standards linked to HIPPA or B2B gateway specifications.
Any errors will be flagged during this phase of testing.
Verifies the balance of your field totals, financial values, and summary data. The data on your newly generated file should match that of the baseline.
Tests particular inter-segment scenarios
If X occurs, then Y must be filled in. This involves checking situational fields for accuracy using values or circumstances from other parts of the file.
External code set testing:
Verifies HIPPA-compliant code sets and code sets particular to the Implementation Guide to make sure their application is acceptable for each transaction.
Product type or line of service testing
Verifies that any records of data that are particular to a product type or line of service are produced and handled appropriately.
All in all, EDI testing and EDI certification are critical during the onboarding process and the overall integration. Businesses should not overlook them. Managers should try to figure out every rule, and every possible problem to avoid incurring charges. This is the time they are allowed to make mistakes if the documents are not processed correctly.