The document format that your internal systems use is called an in-house format. For example, the format could be an iDoc if you use SAP, or it could be an internal XML format. It can also be a regular flat file in plain text format, or something completely different.
A good EDI solution supports mappings between your in-house format and the different formats that your customers and suppliers use, like X12, EDIFACT, XML or maybe JSON.
Let us take a look at how Link helps you work with mapping.
Link uses a “neutral” format called Common Data Model, or simply CDM.
There are many advantages to mapping your in-house format to CDM before it is mapped to your partners’ format. For example, you will be able to change or upgrade your internal systems much easier, because you can avoid having to perform extensive remapping to your partners’ formats.
The number of mappings will skyrocket if you keep making copies of existing mappings with a few adjustments every time you add a new trading partner. This is important to avoid in order to make your EDI solution easy to maintain.
With Link you can limit the number of mappings to a minimum and still meet your trading partners’ specific requirements.
You simply create a standard mapping and then register each partners’ specific requirements. For example, you can create a standard mapping for all incoming EDIFACT orders. You can reuse this standard mapping for many partners, even though they might have varying requirements.
Let us assume that one of your customers wants the term unit mapped into EA, while other customers call it PCE. In Link, you can solve this by registering the partner-specific values in the conversion section on the partner (see below). This way you can use the same mapping for different partners with different requirements.
Of course, you can handle many other requirements like this, for example address formatting, empty data elements, line breaks, etc.
Using the conversion table to register the partner-specific requirements will keep the number of mappings down to a minimum, which makes it much easier for you to stay on top of things.
It is easy to make your own mappings for Link. Your EDI developers can make them in their preferred tool no matter if they are older or modern ones, such as Microsoft Azure or SAP CPI.
If you already have a lot of mappings in your old EDI system, you can most likely reuse these in your new Link EDI solution. Maybe you developed mappings in SAP PI/PO or Microsoft BizTalk, Mulesoft, Boomi, or some other mapping tool? You should not have to throw away your old mappings if they still work - especially if they cost you a lot of money to develop.
If you do not have any EDI developers yourself or if you for some other reason want to outsource the mapping tasks, it is very easy to do so. The mapping component of Link is compatible with almost any technology on the market.