Welcome to the first in a short series of blog posts about some of the new EDI features in AtomSphere for managing trading partners. EDI is a core piece of the AtomSphere platform and remains a critical backbone for many businesses. In our continuing effort to support simplification, modularization, and finer-grained change control for businesses with large-scale EDI implementations, we have recently introduced several major features now available to all EDI customers. In each article we'll take a closer look at one of these features, talk about why you should care, and illustrate how you can begin to use it today.
Topics will include:
- Processing Groups - Groups and Membership
- Processing Groups - Advanced Routing
- Communication Channels (coming soon)
- Multiple-Standard Processes (coming soon)
- Custom Document Standards (coming later)
There’s lots to get to so let’s start with Organizations today.
What are Organizations?
In short, Organizations are a new component type that allows you to simply relate multiple Trading Partner configurations under a single Organization for identification and reporting purposes. This avoids having to maintain common details such as contact information in multiple places.
In AtomSphere, a Trading Partner component represents a unique, standard-specific set of identification information related to your company or to a company with which you trade electronic data. However many companies can have several divisions, departments, or business vertical segments that each have their own set of standards information and identifiers, such as X12 ISA IDs for example.
Currently, the recommendation is to organize the related partner configurations in the same folder, but this still leaves no easy way to:
- Find all related settings for a company with which you trade.
- Share contact settings and company information for several company divisions without re-entering it several times.
- In the future, be able to roll up and report on an Organization activity as a whole.
The Organization component allows you to logically associate these individual Trading Partner settings under a single umbrella so that it becomes possible quickly to answer questions like: What are all of the settings and identifiers I've configured for Company X?
How it Works
In the initial release, Organization components allow you to share organizational contact information across Trading Partner components. Certain screens will show the Organization as meta-information when looking at Trading Partner details. In the future we expect Organization to play a larger part in reporting and configuration, but for now it is meant as a useful informational tool.
Let’s take a look at a quick example.
Sample Use Case: Before
One of my customers (iMagin) has an aeronautics department as well as a legacy electronics division. In addition, they want to migrate their legacy division to a new communication method and standard. I have one Trading Partner component configured for iMagin Aeronautics (AS2), one for iMagin Electronics (Legacy FTP), and another for iMagin Electronics (2017 AS2).
Previously, you would have to depend on consistent naming conventions and searching for iMagin to find all of these. Additionally, you would need to manually maintain their contact information in multiple places:
Sample Use Case: Improved!
Now you can create a new Organization for iMagin that includes their common contact information and associate this Organization within each relevant Trading Partner settings.
- Contact Info is automatically shared down to Trading Partners
- You can reverse-search (Show Where Used) the Organization and quickly find all associated partner settings, regardless of whether you've remembered to name them correctly.
Create a new Organization component:
In a Trading Partner component, on the Overview tab, choose the Organization to which this Trading Partner belongs:
On the Contact Info tab, you will see the Organization’s contact info shown as placeholder text. This text can be overridden if necessary.
For example, if you are using an Organization to group multiple divisions, and each division has a different contact person and phone number, you can store those in each division’s Trading Partner Settings object, while the address information will still reflect the primary organization’s address without having to enter it a second time.
Considerations for Use
Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether to make use of this new feature.
- If you have multiple Trading Partners related to the same company, consider creating Organization components to consolidate the contact information and to be prepared for potential future reporting capabilities.
- If you don't have multiple trading partner settings for a single Organization, there’s no need or benefit currently to defining a separate Organization. Organizations can always be added later if needed.
- Remember Organization components are purely for informational purposes and do not affect runtime execution or data processing.
Check out the new Organization component when you have a chance. For more details please see Organization components.
Stay tuned for our next post: Processing Groups...
Eric Fennell is a Senior Principal Engineer with over 15 years of experience in development and integration. He is passionate about standardization and usability, and he occasionally refuses to use the oxford comma when he knows its omission annoys friends, family and coworkers.