Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the interchange of data between information systems, through a dedicated channel and in a format defined so as not to require human intervention. The main standards in use in the world are:

  • ANSI ASC X12 (X12), predominant in the United States and Canada
  • UN / EDIFACT, the predominant international standard outside North America
  • ODETTE, a standard used at European level for the automotive industry
In Italy, then other standards are being used such as Euritmo, Filconad and Ediel.

Originally, the channels used for EDI were networks implemented specifically for this use, called Value Added Network (VAN). VANs are still largely in use due to the high level of security and traceability they provide, but other transmission methods such as FTP, HTTP, AS2 and, under certain conditions, are also added to them ‘e-mail.

Compared to the traditional way of generating and exchanging commercial documents used by companies, based on letters, faxes, e-mails, EDI allows:

  • Increased accuracy due to (almost) elimination of human intervention and related errors
  • Elimination of paperwork and related costs
  • Greater trade speed
Conversely, EDI involves:
  • Business processes and flows review
  • Costs of implementation sometimes consistently high
  • Employing specialized personnel for EDI operations, or outsourcing them


Web-EDI is an evolution of EDI, as a result of the advent of the Internet. Unlike the “traditional” EDI, it is accessible through browsers and is much less expensive because it uses a non-dedicated technology. However, some of the EDI Web sites do not support the automatic exchange of data through http transfer procedures, which involves manual use by operators. The way information is transferred to a Web-EDI is to batches.