Information Technology Directory

Uniform Standards Assures EDI Solutions Effectively Exchange Information between Computer Systems

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a critical part of operating a business in today’s globalized, interconnected economy. Seamless electronic exchange of business information with suppliers, vendors and customers is an absolute necessity for your company to maintain competiveness.

To make this happen, standards for the exchange of business information have to be developed. In the U.S., they are referred to as ASC-X12, which is actually a group chartered in 1979 by the American National Standards Association to develop uniform standards for inter-industry electronic interchange of business transactions.

X12 standards facilitate transactions by establishing a common, uniform language

The Accredited Standards Committee, or ASC-X12, meets three times a year to develop and maintain the language. They work with other organizations and stakeholders to develop user-friendly standards that facilitate electronic business transactions like order processing, shipping and receiving information, invoicing, payment collections and moving data with and among different financial, insurance, education, state and federal government entities.

X12 standards make it possible to conduct almost all business-to-business transactions between different computers – no matter if they’re in the next room or the other side of the world. Currently, there are 275 unique transaction sets for common business activities in a wide variety of industries.

The committee is broken down into different subcommittees who collaborate, publish and promote EDI standards for their particular area. Each subcommittee has industry representatives, an EDI specialist and other interested parties that negotiate and build consensus as they develop and publish EDI X12 standards. Subcommittees include:

1.Communications and Controls (X12C) – Manages EDI architecture, data security, service specifications and control/management transaction sets. They also develop design rules and serve as X12’s liaison to related national and international organizations.

2.Finance (X12F) – Develops and maintains standards related to credit cards, financial remittance delivery, invoicing, payment transactions and even real estate and mortgage lending. They promote the adoption and use of these standards across the financial industry.

3.Government (X12G) – Develops EDI standards to electronically exchange information among all levels of government and private sector contractors. Transaction sets include contracting, vehicle fleet reporting, revenue reporting and voter registration to name a few.

4.Insurance (X12N) - Develops and maintains EDI standards that relate to all aspects of insurance (i.e. property, casualty, auto, health, life, annuity, reinsurance and regulatory reporting). Coordinates activities with insurance industry standards associations like HL7 and NCPDP.

5.Transportation (X12I) – Develops standards for all forms of transportation along with logistics, multimodal transportation and U.S. Customs. X12I consults with other recognized organizations that work with EDI transportation standards.

The ASC-X12 committee strives to provide user friendly EDI solutions in a timely manner. Transaction sets are designed to support the maximum number of users as possible in a simple and efficient manner. One day, they hope to develop and implement a worldwide EDI standard.

Check back soon with the information technology knowledge center and learn more about EDI and other standards that interconnect computer systems and streamline business processes.



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