Grantees that transmit large amounts of data to the Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS) may be able to benefit from Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), an alternative to the more common IDIS Internet method. The motivation to use EDI is compelling: Processing and handling a single, multipart paper document over its lifetime can cost from $10 to $40, sometimes more. Conducting business electronically eliminates these paper forms and can slash costs by one-third to one-half. Other benefits include more accurate records, lower data entry costs, lower mailing costs, greater customer satisfaction, better cash management, and reduced turnaround time.
EDI text files are sent electronically to HUD via a Value Added Network (VAN). HUD receives the file, translates it, and updates IDIS with the information the grantee has transmitted. Next, IDIS generates a report and electronically sends it to the grantee’s mailbox, notifying the grantee of any success or failure with the data in the file. This process is shown in detail in the diagram below.
Successful implementation of EDI requires an understanding of the options available and some careful planning.
The following is an example of a basic plan of attack for implementing EDI at the Grantee level:
What is EDI?
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the computer-to-computer exchange of routine business information using Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 standards.
Is EDI similar to email?
No. Unlike email, EDI utilizes a tightly structured data format which allows the data to be processed directly in either the originating or receiving company’s application.
What is a Value Added Network (VAN)?
A VAN is a third-party service organization that provides a variety of services for businesses that want to do business using EDI. Most importantly it provides the communications link between HUD and clients.
What is a Vendor?
In the context of EDI, a Vendor (also known as a "service bureau") is third-party provider of text-formatting services. Vendors receive data from a Grantee and reformat it to comply with EDI standards.
How many transactions can I transmit at a time?
There are no limits imposed by ASC X12 EDI standards. However, there may be software, hardware, or communications limitations.
When and how often can I transmit my transactions?
When and how often you transmit documents depends on the arrangements with the VAN or your trading partner. Currently, HUD IDIS/EDI picks up mail from their VAN mailbox five times a day.
What is mapping?
Mapping is the process of identifying the relationship of the users' standard data elements to the ANSI X12 EDI standard data elements.
What is an EDI Translator?
A translator is a set of software (programs) designed to automatically translate proprietary data formats in ASC X12 standard format for sending. The software reverses the process when data are received. An EDI translator is the computer software used to perform the conversion of application data to and from the X12 standard.
What is a trading partner agreement?
A trading partner agreement is the key document that sets forth the rights and obligations of the trading parties. The HUD trading partner agreements are tailored by HUD to meet the standard practice of the industry—for example, transportation, medical supplies, grocery, or grants processing. Trading partner agreements are stand-alone agreements or they can be provisions in a master agreement. HUD IDIS/EDI uses a master agreement with provisions.