Electronic Data Interchange

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ELECTRONIC DATA INTERCHANGE: ORGANISATIONAL OPPORTUNITY, NOT TECHNICAL PROBLEM

Paula M.C. Swatman School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences Murdoch University South Street, Murdoch, W.A. 6150. Paul A. Swatman School of Computing Science Curtin University of Technology G.P.O. Box 1982 Perth, W.A. 6001

ABSTRACT Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) enables organisations to send and receive standardised business communications more quickly, flexibly, cheaply and with greater security and accuracy than is possible with conventional postal services. It is not, however, merely another telecommunications advance, but rather provides a means by which organisations can introduce seamless inter-connection within and across organisational boundaries. This paper summarises the background and development of EDI and the benefits to be obtained from its integration into internal and external organisational systems and considers the future of EDI and inter-organisational information systems in general. It then discuss the organisational issues involved in implementing EDI, dispelling the myth that EDI is an issue relevant only to computer communications professionals, pointing out the fact that EDI is a major strategic opportunity which must be addressed at senior levels within implementing organisations.

This paper was presented to "DBIS ’91" the 2nd Australian Conference on Database and Information Systems, held at the University of New South Wales in February 1991. It has since been republished in Srinivasan B. & Zeleznikow J. (Eds.) Databases in the 1990’s: 2, World Scientific Press, Singapore, 354-374.

INTRODUCTION The many, similar definitions of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) are succinctly summarised in the following quotation from Emmelhainz (1988): "computer-tocomputer transmission of standard business data". A Datamation survey of EDI usage points out that…...

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