EDI Mapping: A Comprehensive Analysis 101

• February 10th, 2021

Feature Image for EDI Mapping Blog

As data in the modern world is constantly evolving, the transfer of data from different companies is also changing. In the past, when data was needed to be sent across multiple platforms the records of the transactions across these platforms were recorded in the form of documents. These documents could be easily replaced or altered and so a new technique called, EDI Mapping was developed to combat the flaws of the traditional document approach.

EDI Mapping is a process in which EDI data is translated into a better format for better technical processing. Various EDI software exists that help to electronically communicate information that traditionally was communicated through paper documents. EDI software solutions make such exchanges a lot easier across a number of different platforms.

As a result, many retail businesses, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and automotive companies have become prominent EDI clients who use Electronic Data Interchange on a regular basis for their businesses.

This article elaborates on the concept of EDI, discusses how it works, and also provides a stepwise guide to implement the same. Read along to understand different facets of the Electronic Data Interchange Mapping.

Table of Contents

What is EDI Mapping?

EDI Mapping refers to the conversion of EDI data into formats that are better suited for interpretation in the tech environment. All data structures, during the Mapping event, are translated into EDI standard formats such as EDIFACT and ANSI X12.

In an EDI Mapping procedure, data in one format is first gathered from an ERP System and once the connection is established, the message standard is chosen and is then sent to the other ERP System. The process is represented in the figure below:

EDI Mapping using a Converter Tool
Image Source

Implementing EDI with transactional data has several prominent benefits due to which the digital space has seen a rapid rise in EDI clients. These include enhancing the automation, connection, and accuracy of data interchange. By automatically sending external data to internal systems a readily repeatable process is created.

With the manual process being eliminated, the risk for errors and other inconsistencies appearing is also eliminated, thus, ensuring accuracy. The connection and communication features are enhanced with robust EDI data formats like XML created during EDI Mapping allows easy communication with business collaborations. 

The EDI Mapping process involves the development of naming conventions for all files. For example:

  • Direction Code: In, Out, Send, Receive
  • Map/Transaction Type: 810, 850, INV, PO
  • Structured Data Levels: Header, Detail, Address, Note
  • Segment Labels: BEG,IT1, N1, MSG
  • Element Labels: BEG01, IT102, N104

The identification of these element IDs can be made easy with proper element descriptions. It is ideal to include all element and segment descriptions within the metadata to simplify the field searching for Mapping. The examples and descriptions shown below, present the complete information about the fields in concern:

  • Field Name: “PONUM”       Description: “Purchase Order Number BEG03”
  • Field Name: “CSTORD”       Description: “Cust Ord #”

By having proper naming conventions in place, Mapping can be done in an easy and efficient manner. The metadata would also be organized which would make the search easier. This way EDI Mapping can be implemented in different transactions with ease.

Example of EDI Mapping

Image Source

In this example, the SAP ERP system on the left employs an IDoc internal format in this case. To send a message to a trading partner, transform the IDoc file into an EDI transaction and send it to them using a defined EDI format such as ANSI X12 or EDIFACT.

The EDI file is transformed to a JSON file before being ingested into Acumatica ERP on the righthand side because the trading partner’s ERP (Acumatica) uses JSON as its internal format.

It’s worth noting that EDI system mapping is bidirectional, thus the reasoning isn’t confined to a left-to-right process. Dataflows are mapped in both directions by EDI providers.

EDI Formats

Since EDI documents are processed by computers rather than people, they must follow a standard format in order for the computer to read and understand them. Several standard formats and variants of EDI are in use, with ANSI and EDIFACT being the two most common.

Consider each format as a separate language. To interact efficiently, organizations must agree on a certain EDI standard to exchange documents. As a result, businesses rely on an EDI translator. To accurately handle the documents, an EDI translator can be established via software or a third-party EDI provider. List of EDI formats:

  • ANSI X12
  • AS2 EDI
  • EDI X12
  • XML to EDI

Simplify Data Mapping & ETL with Hevo’s No-code Data Pipelines

Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline helps to load data from any data source such as Databases, SaaS applications, Cloud Storage, SDK,s, and Streaming Services and simplifies the ETL process. It supports 100+ data sources including 40+ Free Sources and is a 3-step process by just selecting the data source, providing valid credentials, and choosing the destination. Hevo not only loads the data onto the desired Data Warehouse but also enriches the data and transforms it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code.

Its completely automated pipeline offers data to be delivered in real-time without any loss from source to destination. Its fault-tolerant and scalable architecture ensure that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss and supports different forms of data. The solutions provided are consistent and work with different BI tools as well.


Check out why Hevo is the Best:

  • Secure: Hevo has a fault-tolerant architecture that ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.
  • Schema Management: Hevo takes away the tedious task of schema management & automatically detects the schema of incoming data and maps it to the destination schema.
  • Minimal Learning: Hevo, with its simple and interactive UI, is extremely simple for new customers to work on and perform operations.
  • Hevo Is Built To Scale: As the number of sources and the volume of your data grows, Hevo scales horizontally, handling millions of records per minute with very little latency.
  • Incremental Data Load: Hevo allows the transfer of data that has been modified in real-time. This ensures efficient utilization of bandwidth on both ends.
  • Live Support: The Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.
  • Live Monitoring: Hevo allows you to monitor the data flow and check where your data is at a particular point in time.

Simplify your Data Analysis with Hevo today!


How does EDI Mapping work?

Mapping tools are essentially EDI translators that can take any language format and make it work across an entire supply chain. Most significantly, mapping software can be used to:

  • To eliminate language barriers between business partners who already use EDI, map data on an EDI-to-EDI basis, effectively transforming one data format to another (e.g. EDIFACT to ASC X12).
  • By providing connectivity with EDI and internal systems (like an ERP or CRM) that may require CSV or XML files, you can communicate even with partners who aren’t familiar with EDI.

EDI mapping is not a one-size-fits-all solution within these categories. Rather, a decision must be made between direct EDI and canonical EDI. Direct EDI is the most common way because of its easy and efficient approach that can be adjusted to a supply chain’s individual demands. This option essentially converts a field from one format to another. This means that for each trading partner in your supply chain, a single direct map will be established, making it simple to pinpoint data sources and support a wide range of EDI message standards.

Canonical (indirect) EDI converts inbound data into a standard format (CMF). In theory, this seeks to make mapping easier by using a single map rather than multiple maps. For many organizations, however, this added another degree of complexity to establishing and operating. When working with an EDI provider, it’s typically more cost-effective to create a custom and direct system rather than rely on the off-the-shelf features of a canonical EDI method.

Benefits of EDI Mapping

EDI mapping is a crucial tool for simplifying EDI and developing a system that can handle the intricacies of a global supply chain. EDI mapping delivers a comprehensive solution that brings together a variety of supply chain partners into a single system. The following are some of the important advantages this provides:

  • Automation: Static EDI is needed in-between human processes, whereas EDI mapping transmits external data to crucial internal systems automatically. This results in a repeatable procedure that doesn’t require any human intervention. Aside from greatly simplifying what may be a difficult process, this eliminates human mistakes, which are responsible for over 90% of data breaches and severely slows processes.
  • Connection: One of the most important mapping benefits is a connection or streamlined communications. The ability to employ flat-file formats to efficiently exchange data across even massive supply chains is particularly advantageous, as it eliminates the requirement for same-language integrations. When it comes to EDI-to-other mapping methodologies, this advantage even allows for effective integrations with supply chain partners who are completely unfamiliar with, or ill-equipped for, EDI in general.
  • Affordability: EDI mapping has the potential to drastically reduce expenses, especially with bespoke systems that adapt to changing supply chain mapping procedures and eliminate the need for manual input. Not to mention that the convenience of use on offer ensures that trading partners provide the highest quality and value at all times.

EDI Mapping for Businesses

Meeting trade partner demands, minimizing manual entry, and speeding data migration from front-end to back-end systems all require EDI mapping.

Through the transfer of correct and automated EDI data to back-end systems, a well-designed EDI mapping software solution or procedure will provide complete control over company data, as well as better EDI visibility.

Aside from the money savings, the most major gain is an increase in general production and efficiency. With EDI, you may cut your business cycle time by as much as 65%. Transactions between businesses can be completed in a flash by implementing an automated internal system. The processing of common papers and orders is done automatically, with real-time supply chain tracking and no lag caused by manual entry.

You can reduce labor costs connected with processing company papers by eliminating the requirement for frequent human interaction. Your staff will be able to focus on higher-value duties, which will result in a more productive workforce.

Unlike traditional manual input, EDI gives organizations the option to see real-time transactions as they happen. To stay up with market demand, corporate leadership might take proactive measures. In a demand-driven company strategy, this increased flexibility is critical for staying relevant.

Steps Involved in an EDI Process

Any EDI process has 3 simple steps. They are given below:

1) Document Preparation

The first step in any EDI process involves the preparation of the documents that are to be sent. The data needs to be collected and organized in order to generate all the required electronic documents. You can assess if these require human entries, reformatted electronic data, or perhaps data exports from your system.

Depending on the scale at which you are operating, you can either choose to carry out the preparation process manually or purchase software that has built-in features for EDI files. Once prepared, the documents are ready for translation.

2) Document Translation into an EDI Format

In the next step, the collected electronic data needs to be fed through a data translator software to convert your data into EDI standard format.

A variety of software options are available in the market for carrying out translation using segments and data elements. This is the stage where the actual EDI Mapping occurs and the internal data is correlated to the EDI data. The EDI service providers often extend translation services which can be used for this purpose as well, if you want them to handle the translation process. 

3) Connection and Transmission of EDI Documents

Once all necessary documents are translated, they are ready to be transmitted over a secure connection to your business partners and other concerned parties.

For this, you need to first figure out how the connection is going to be established. You can either connect directly using AS2, connect to an EDI network provider or perhaps use a different secure internet protocol to establish a connection. You could even use a combination of different protocols to establish a secure connection and then proceed to transmit EDI documents to your partners and other parties involved.

The 3 steps mentioned above can be depicted in the figure below:

EDI Steps Diagram

In order to earn more about EDI, click this link.

Steps to Implement EDI Mapping

As you have seen the steps to implement an EDI process, some other specific steps are required to implement EDI Mapping for your data. The steps are given below:

1) Ensure Elements of Organisational Structure

The first aspect to be ensured is whether or not all prerequisites can be accessed. Developing the appropriate organisation structure including the EDI coordinator, the steering committee, senior management sponsor and a dedicated EDI team is essential. All of them will play essential roles in the internal and external implementation operations of the system.

2) Review Functional Areas Strategically

The next factor to explore is that of the functional areas of EDI deployment. Strategically review what your EDI system can do as per your requirements. Review if redundancy of data is removed, redundant business cycle steps are eliminated, manual effort is significantly reduced and whether or not the customer service can be improved with the EDI system in place.

3) Survey and Analyse Cost & Efficiency

It is also important that the EDI system in question is cost-effective as well as efficient to cater to the customer, suppliers and trading partners’ transactional requirements. A “Cost Benefits Analysis” can be carried out to assess the current system and help estimate the resources needed to improve the system. An EDI survey can help to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system along with pending requirements for data integration as per the implementation schedule. This ensures that EDI Mapping is catered to with proper data integrations.

4) Select an EDI Solution that is Business-Focussed

The next step is to choose an EDI Solution, that best meets the business requirements. This ensures that the EDI Mapping is well integrated with the business ideologies and is not spending additional resources of the company and complicating the process. In order to do this, you need to understand the business and technical issues of your business to choose a solution accordingly.

5) Choose the Apt EDI Network Provider

This is generally for large-scale businesses and those dealing with a large volume of transactions. An EDI Network Provider can be a great option for readily translating and managing business and financial documents and some providers also help to manage internal EDI Mapping too. Hence, choosing an apt EDI Network Provider is equally important.

6) Integrate EDI with your Business

The next step will be to integrate the EDI system into the business processes in a seamless manner. The best way to do this is to fulfil all customer requirements and integrate all critical internal systems that need to share the data while keeping in mind the workload to be expected.

7) Initiate Data Integration across your Business

Once the foundational steps are set up correctly the data integration can be initiated. All data from internal and external systems need to be corroborated in order to carry out proper translation of data sets involved. This is the first stage into setting up a systematic EDI Mapping approach.

8) Implement Data Mapping across the Business

The next and primary step of EDI Mapping correlates data and the seamless flow of information to and from internal systems and trading partners. This is important for an effective and accurate Mapping of data so that the process can be smooth.

9) Identify a Pilot Project

Identifying a pilot project is important before you start using the EDI system across the business community. This is because a pilot project essentially tests the system with a selected number of partners to ensure each element is functioning as desired.

10) Extend EDI to Trading Partners

Once assessed, established and tested, the EDI implementation is complete and ready to be extended to trading partners for use. The system configuration can be updated and fine-tuned as per your growing and changing business priorities and requirements. This ensures that the EDI Mapping process is complete and can be easily used by trading partners of the company.

Overall, with these steps, you can successfully monitor each aspect to implement EDI Mapping. An important part to be considered during the process is to always monitor the business transactional requirements and practical use cases during each step of the implementation and corroboration.

The diagram below explains the EDI Mapping from an implementation perspective:

EDI Mapping Implementation Scenario Diagram
Image Source

How to Choose the Best EDI Mapping Solution?

With most EDI mapping software, a lack of in-house EDI experience can become a major issue, complicated a process that should, in the end, be designed to make things easier. When one of the partners in a large supply chain changes its EDI data structure, every map in the system must be updated to match the change. This may be reasonable in a supply chain with only five partners, but when you’re dealing with 50 or 500 maps, even minor modifications can result in delays that take hours or days to resolve.

Many businesses use managed services to deploy mapping to mitigate supply chain risks. In this case, expert-led EDI mapping integrations are constantly monitored by people who understand exactly what mapping entails. These custom solutions work in tandem with EDI systems to give you more control and visibility over the mapping process. Not to mention that professionals are always on hand to respond to data changes in real-time across the supply chain, saving organizations a lot of time and effort.


This article provided an in-depth knowledge of the EDI Mapping procedure and can help companies set up the procedure and handle the business requirements in a smooth fashion. Overall, EDI Mapping has proven to be an effective technique for companies because you can automate your business transactions while adding an element of accuracy and robust connection functions for the same, and business invoicing and transactional communications with partners can be easily streamlined with Electronic Data Interchange.

In case you want to set up a Data Mapping procedure, then Hevo Data is the right choice for you! It will help simplify the ETL and management process of both the data sources and the data destinations.


Want to take Hevo for a spin?

SIGN UP and experience the feature-rich Hevo suite first hand. You can also have a look at the unbeatable pricing that will help you choose the right plan for your business needs.

Share your experience of understanding EDI Mapping in the comments section below!

No-code Data Pipeline For Your Data Warehouse