Friday, 28 July 2017

How to test EDI transactions?


One of my friends asked me about the EDI transactions, so I thought of writing on testing EDI transactions-

What is EDI?

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents between business entities. Instead of sending documents by fax or email, EDI is simple and digital way of communication.
EDI documents use specific record formats that are based on widely accepted standards. However, each company will use EDI in different ways to fit the business needs.
EDI is used in many different industries to improve efficiency. Computer based information exchange is less expensive than faxing or mailing paper documents. The processing cost and processing time is less in case of EDI.
Trading partners are the business partners who are involved in the transactions like generating purchase order, sending purchase order etc. In healthcare industry, healthcare providers are trading partners.
For successful implementation of EDI, trading partners should agree to the company about the specific formats under EDI and should implement the same. This is called EDI complaint trading partners.
EDI standards are as follows-
                                   1.    ANSI ASC X12
                                   2.    EANCOM
                                   3.    UN/EDIFACT
                                   4.    HIPAA
                                   5.    ODETTE
                                   6.    RosettaNet
                                   7.    SWIFT
                                   8.    Tradacoms
                                   9.    VDA
                                  10.  VICS

Here, we will go through ANSI ASC X12 EDI Documents-

X12 is a messaging standard developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
An X12 EDI document contains the following mandatory segments:
ISA Segment – Starting Segment
GS Segment – Starting Segment
ST Segment – Starting Segment
SE Segment – Corresponding ending segment of ST
GE Segment – Corresponding ending segment of GS
IEA Segment – Corresponding ending segment of ISA

Enveloping structure –

ISA
            GS
                        ST
                        SE
            GE
ISE

Within file any of the loops Starting and Ending segment can be repeated. Within ST-SE the transaction data elements are available. E.g. Invoice number / claim amount etc.
Transaction types like claim, remittance, Enquiry etc are denoted by transaction numbers and available in the implementation guide.

How to test –

The key of testing EDI transaction is to prepare test data. As shown above, we need to create test files with correct structure. These are nothing but a text files and easy to handle. Once the required files are created then process them through the system build by developers and validate the results. In general, request is sent as a file the response is created as a file. In testing, we check the response file structure if it is correct, if any data is missing etc.
Usually this testing is test data intensive and hence creating test files for all different scenarios is critical.

For more information on latest news on X12 visit the following link-