Wednesday, February 6, 2013

EDI & Microsoft Dynamics SL Integration

What is EDI?

EDI, the abbreviated term for Electronic Data Interchange is the process of exchanging business documents between Trading Partners in a standard Electronic format.

Why EDI?

  • Paper & People dependent processes can be converted into more streamlined electronic process reducing the processing time by more than half.
  • Application Handshake between the trading partners in an automated fashion. The manual efforts will be considerably reduced and so do the human errors.
  • Serving the Customers in a speedy manner without compromising the reliability and accuracy of the data thereby promoting the improved relationships. 
  • Good Configuration ensures less maintenance and quick & easy ROI.
  • The valuable resources can be liberated from the time consuming activities and can be utilized effectively.

EDI- SL Integration Prerequisites
  • Business Partners
              a.  Interchange information between Business partners
              b.  Transaction types to be determined between Business partners
  • VAN or FTP – Common place between trading partners to share inbound & outbound files.
  • Ecommerce Gateway module of Dynamics SL
  • Translation Software  - Microsoft recommends EDGE, an EDI product from 3rd party vendor
  • Associated Mappings & communication scripts to be developed and configured.
  • ASC X12 files – Standards maintained by Accredited Standards Committee X12.  The transaction data will be exchanged as these files.

Translation Process

The documents between the trading partners will be exchanged electronically as X12 documents as  per the standards agreed by the trading partners. The EDGE software with the associated mappings & communication scripts performs 2 types of transactions.
  1. Inbound Transaction - Import X12 file from FTP/VAN, translate X12 file to SL recognizable flat file and pass on the data to Dynamics SL.
  2. Outbound Transaction - Import the data out of Dynamics SL as flat file, translate the into X12 format, and place the X12 file into the FTP or VAN for the trading partner to access.

To perform the above activities, EDGE has to be configured properly which can be accomplished by the below mentioned EDGE tool.
    a.  EDGE Entry– to configure the communication scripts, Trading partners & Routings
    b.  EDGE Batch Server – to execute the communication scripts in scheduled intervals
    c.  EDGE Developer – for mappings. Both X12 mapping and flat file mapping to be done.

This software comes as a bundle with the Ecommerce gateway module licensing of Dynamics SL. Here the EDGE Entry & Batch Server tools are free where the Developer tool needs to be purchased from the Vendor .

Order processing thru EDI - Summary

  • Trading partner to place the POs in X12 format in the given FTP path.
  • EDGE Batch server, with the help of the communication scripts import the inbound 850 X12 from the FTP and pass on the data into Ecommerce gateway module of SL as a flat file.
  • These flat files will be converted into the inbound POs in Ecommerce gateway module and will be converted into the Sales Order of OM module using Transaction Import process.
  • SL to create and send the Purchase Order Acknowledgement (POA) to EDGE as flat file as soon as the shipper is created. This will be further translated as outbound 855 X12 to be placed in FTP.
  • SL to create and send the Advanced Ship Note (ASN) as soon as the Manifest entry is done for the Shipper. This will be further translated as outbound 856 X12 to be placed in FTP.
  • Create and send the Invoice as soon as the Sales journal report is executed. This invoice will be sent as flat file to EDGE and subsequently converted to outbound 810 X12 and placed in FTP path for the trading partner to import.

Order processing - Process Flow in Detail


  1. Thanks for the post, it really breaks everything down nice and easy. Currently my company is using IBM Sterling Integrator software and I was curious what software you have used or are familiar with.

  2. Hello Mike- Appreciate your comment. We integrate Microsoft Dynamics SL & EDGE EDI software. X12 mapping of Inbound/Outbound transactions, Custom Communication script for FTP/VAN access, uninterrupted transaction handling between trading partners & issue notifications are the few areas of expertise. Please email us for any further queries.