About EDI

What do you need to know about EDI

What is EDI?

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) - exchange of commercial and financial documents (e.g. orders, order response, despatch advice, receiving advice, invoice, correcting invoice, remittance advice, etc.) in the form of standard electronic messages, directly between the IT systems of business partners.

What steps should a company undertake to start EDI?

Before starting an EDI project a company should:

1. Estimate Return on Investment (ROI) of the project taking into consideration:

  • Readiness of current and potential business partners to start an EDI project 
  • Cost of paper document services (e.g. printing, packing, sending, storage)
  • Investing in existing IT infrastructure modifications
  • Resources to re-organize processes 
  • Time frame for launching the project

During this stage it is also recommended to define the project's scope incl. message types that will be exchanged with business partners as well as the volume of documents and number of business partners. 

2. Indicate the team responsible for project implementation

Members should concentrate on project organization and implementation rather than dividing their time among other current duties. Much depends on the project's scope but the team should indicate representatives from Purchase, Sales, Accounting, Logistics and IT departments where one person from each department would be appointed as project owner and would be responsible for reporting to top management.  

3. Adjustment to GS1 codes

The company should put its master data in order. It is recommended to use EAN codes and agree with business partners on their uniqueness. As for localization the company is recommended to use a Global Localization Number - it serves to identify each location which must be explicitly and uniquely identified in the supply chain (more information>>)

4. IT solution choice

The company should decide whether to implement and maintain a project with its own resources or outsource it to an EDI provider. When making such a decision the following issues should be considered:

  • Experience 
  • Business model
  • Resources
  • Timeline

The company should define the communication protocol that will be used to exchange documents with business partners (e.g. AS2, FTP/VPN, sFTP, WebService). 


5. Pilot project

The company should choose a business partner to execute tests. It is important to agree on a test period during which all the data will be exchanged and verified with their paper counterparts. If all test results are positive then a paper document switch off' date should be defined (the shorter the period of time the better).

6. Project roll-out

After starting communication with a first business partner the company should roll-out the project to reach a defined volume of electronic documents within a shortest possible time period. 


What are the most popular electronic document formats? Where can example electronic document specifications be found?

First and foremost, the UN/EDIFACT format (United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport), followed by XML.

  • Specifications of electronic documents used in Poland in XML format. Click here>>
  • Specifications of electronic documents in EDIFACT format.  Click here>>


Who should adjust the data format in case partners use different systems?

The partners should agree on the data format and content of the message. One of the possibilities is to adjust own systems to the needs of each business partner but we recommend to outsource this to an EDI provider who has experience in the conversion of various formats and data validation.   


Is it possible to send e-invoices through EDI and resign from paper invoices?

Yes. In most European countries the law allows to replace paper invoices with electronic equivalents. Especially, within the EU where the Council Directive 2010/45/EU is in force and were most countries have adjusted their local legislation. 

Comarch EDI

Comarch EDI provides your company with a competitive advantage by fast and secure transmission of data from all business partners in the world. We guarantee the automation of data processing across the supply chain starting with the ordering process, through the picking and delivery, all the way to invoicing and processing of payments.

The ability to implement projects in the cloud allows your company to significantly reduce investment costs and achieve return on investment quickly.

Comarch EDI

Find out more about
EDI solutions

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  • Many years of experience
  • 100 000 active users from 40 countries
  • Multinationality – implementation of projects across Europe
  • Experience in many industries
  • Support for international standards – a partnership with GS1
  • Flexible business models
  • Scalability and configurability of the platform – the architecture is based on cutting-edge technology
  • Security – the localization of the platform in the certified Comarch Data Center
  • Service Desk in many languages
  • Presence in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant


  • 1
    Is there any document volume limit when an EDI project is considered?

    No. Comarch EDI processes around 140 million documents yearly and there is no problem with processing larger volumes of documents. Each company should carry out ROI analysis in order to determine how the implementation of the EDI project may affect the company's operations and results. It is worth noting that analysis should be prepared  individually as each company has its own unique business environment and knows its operation costs best. 

  • 2
    Should I discuss anything with my partner before starting EDI?

    Yes. Firstly, your partner should agree on receiving or sending the documents and confirm the date when such communication  is launched. In addition, the scope of the project should be discussed i.e. message types, messages contents, communication protocol or chosen EDI providers, contact person responsible for the project.

  • 3
    My business partners do not have an ERP system.
    Is it possible to launch EDI with them?

    Yes. Comarch offers Comarch EDI Web via which the company may send and receive documents with business partners. This solution, is available in ten-odd languages, and allows for fast document creation on the basis of received documents as well as documents' tracing.  

  • 4
    Would EDI technology be difficult to implement in my company?

    EDI can be implemented in a very short period of time, depending on the chosen type of EDI solution and project scope. If it is a Web-based solution then the user from your company has to log into the Web application and fill in the necessary online forms before sending the agreed documents. More complex projects will require software to be installed on your company's network that will then will allow integration with your back-office systems.

  • 5
    Is it possible to exchange documents with foreign business partners?

    Yes. EDI technology is used worldwide. Comarch EDI assures coverage of all the processes in your supply chain regardless of country of operation or business partner. Currently, Comarch provides international project management to customers from 30 countries and a local Call Center to maintain the project.   

  • 6
    How do I get started with EDI with business partners?

    In order to launch an EDI project, you need to consult with an EDI provider and indicate the business partners which you wish to begin your project with. Each EDI user has their unique GLN and selects their preferred method of sending and receiving electronic documents.  You may contact our Call Center directly or apply for launching a project with the use of our form.

  • 7
    What are the examples of electronic documents which I can exchange with my business partners?
    • Orders (ORDER)
    • Invoices (INVOIC)
    • Despatch advices (DESADV)
    • Receiving advices (RECADV)
    • Order responses (ORDERRSP)
    • Inventory reports (INVRPT)
    • Sales reports (SLSRPT)
  • 8
    Is it possible to send e-invoices through EDI and resign from paper invoices?

    Yes. In most European countries the law allows to replace paper invoices with electronic equivalents. Especially, within the EU where the Council Directive 2010/45/EU is in force and were most countries have adjusted their local legislation.  

  • 9
    Is it obligatory to archive e-invoices in electronic form?
    Yes. If a company decides to resign from paper invoices it is obligatory to archive the electronic form of the invoice.

Find out more about
EDI solutions

Contact us