08 Jan 2019The Challenges of Testing EDI-Based Applications
EDI – Electronic Data Interchange. Definition: EDI is a computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners without the need for human intervention. EDI permits exchange of multiple business documents, such as purchase orders, shipping notices, invoices and more. It also permits multiple companies across countries to exchange business documents electronically.
EDI is predominately used in large and small companies, for a wide range of benefits it offers. Some of them include: reduced costs, increased speed, improved business efficiency and a greater visibility of the documents during the exchange process. Hence, the impressive cost savings are far from the only benefit the EDI offers.
On the other hand, the implementation of EDI has challenges too, especially while testing or validating EDI-based applications. Given the importance of EDI, testing EDI-based applications is considered as ‘impeccable.’ Let’s take a quick view of the number of testing challenges involved during this process.
Challenge 1: Multi-layer validation of transactions
When testing EDI-based applications, sending each transaction and validating its result manually can be cumbersome and error-prone. This becomes even worse when the testers fail to exercise a wide range of test cases accurately. This often involves managing hierarchical and complex data sets and perform multi-layer testing or validation of each transaction.
Challenge 2: Partners don’t understand the format used
There are numerous file formats in use for EDI-based applications. These formats include: EDIFACT, X12, CSV, AS2, TRADACOMS, and more. Sometimes, the file formats that are used by an enterprise might not be understood by its partners’ systems, or vice versa. In this case, the enterprise or partners need a solution that validates data in various formats, which will be an overwhelming task.
Challenge 3: Validating complex and hierarchical data
The more partners, manufacturers, and suppliers an enterprise coordinates with as a part of its trading, the complexity of the network increases. The enterprise needs to be able to connect to partners’ systems and have to deal with multiple challenges that may arise while validating the information exchange transactions.
Challenge 4: Ensuring EDI compliance
Translating EDI files from one or multiple trading partner’s format to a standard format that is used by the receiver is one of the biggest challenges. Meeting all the trading partner’s EDI requirements is essential for an organization to become EDI compliant.
Challenge 5: Manual testing is laborious and time consuming
EDI-based application testing consumes a lot of man hours as it involves the complex nature of the workflows. EDI test automation is needed to help minimize human work, and allow test engineers to focus on test analysis.
Challenge 6: Connecting legacy system/application with modern applications
If an enterprise is using a legacy system or an application, it may host a range of challenges, including:
– Relevant legacy programming skills are required to support the legacy system
– The generated reports from legacy system data, especially that are in various formats are difficult to interpret
It is imperative to understand these challenges and address them with EDI test automation capabilities. Today, only very few companies have full-fledged capability to test EDI-based applications effectively and help businesses gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. TestingXperts is one of them.
Watch this space for the next post in the series, EDI Test Automation & Testing Types.