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EDI Testing - Automating the Validation and Testing of EDI Data

  • EDI testing is now one of the most widely used ways for data to be obtained from an organizations internal system. It was originally developed to allow companies the ease of changing phone numbers when internal or external calls are made and received. It also allows for the quick exchange of information between internal staff. The problem however soon grew as companies realized that this functionality offered a much wider range of benefits for users of the system. As more trades were being performed across state, federal and international borders EDI testing began to function as a comprehensive business intelligence tool. As such EDI testing is now seen not only as a means of increasing productivity through improved communication between tradesmen but also a means of improving compliance requirements and making transactions easier to complete.

    One of the biggest issues surrounding EDI testing is the necessity for businesses to ensure the data set contains only authentic, compliant data. There are many EDI software test tools available to help test this data set. A large number of these tools focus on the negotiation aspect of EDI requests and the generation of data sets, while others focus strictly on data quality aspects. While EDI testing tools may be able to achieve a decent level of success in both areas, it is often the case that a lack of quality EDI testing will result in data which may have several fraudulent elements to it. In order to reduce the risk of losing business, it is important that businesses invest time and effort into implementing quality EDI testing.

    The biggest part of the testing process however is the creation of a standard test file. This test file must include all the expected elements from a successful EDI transaction, all of the required data fields that must be supported by the software application in question, and all the standard information required by software vendors. This final test file is then sent to the EDI suppliers for their acceptance and use.

    A further aspect of EDI testing deals with validating the various EDI transaction claim sizes. In addition to the standard file formats that are required the testing team must also validate file formats that may be widely used within various industries and/or applications. File formats that are frequently used include application/theme files, meta-data, and even screenshots. By successfully validating these various file formats a software application can ensure that EDI data will be received and interpreted correctly by their supporting software.

    There are multiple ways in which EDI testing can be carried out. Whilst manual testers may not possess the technical skills and experience necessary to carry out thorough and complex testing automation can be utilized. EDI testing can be carried out by simply utilizing EDI automation software or manual testing, this however does limit the applicability of such tests to a particular software application. As well as reducing the applicability of such tests it also makes it more difficult for software testers to identify bugs and glitches. Another disadvantage of carrying out automated testing is that in the vast majority of cases testing will only detect known flaws and errors.

    Most software development teams nowadays are adopting an automated tool set to aid their testing efforts. Such tools are commonly referred to as "cheat tools". These tools are used to perform automated testing and validation, these tools include a set of generic rules that can be configured to perform a number of different activities that can range from simple data verification to complex event processing. While most software development companies will utilize one of the more generic tools available, they are more likely to use one of the more complex validation and testing tools available. The biggest benefit of using a custom EDI automation framework is that it will enable the company to effectively control and define test cases and ensure the software being tested is running as reliably as possible.