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What Is An EDI Mapping?

Discover how to seamlessly convert file formats to EDI mapping standards for efficient communication with your trading partners

An EDI mapping defines the translation of data structures from a proprietary file (in CSV format, txt, SAP IDoc, ERP-specific etc.) to an EDI mapping standard format (EDIFACT, ANSI X12 etc.) and vice versa. On the one side the corporate ERP can integrate the data automatically and on the other side a standard based format can be sent to any trading partner which uses EDI and adheres the same EDI formats.

EDI converter tool

The EDI converter tool converts data (messages) from the ERP system into the established EDI mapping standard in place. For data to be exchanged electronically between EDI trading partners, both parties need to agree on an established EDI mapping standard which is defined by various organizations such as the UN, ANSI, VDA or DIN.

In addition to the global EDIFACT and the North American ANSI X12 standard, there are other regional or industry-specific EDI message standards.

From a pure syntax perspective, an EDI format strictly has to follow the established EDI mapping standard. With an EDI converter tool from SEEBURGER, a multitude of other data formats found on the market can be integrated.

EDI guidelines

Most retailers and automotive vendors are “EDI hubs” and publish their own EDI guidelines for their EDI communication and EDI data structures. In these guidelines, they explain which segments, elements and codes they use and which are mandatory or optional. This has the advantage of narrowing down the general EDIFACT andANSI X12 message structures. The disadvantage is that the EDI process becomes more complex when suppliers deal with many customers that use their own EDI guidelines for their own EDI mapping documents.

As a result, suppliers need a specific EDI mapping for each of their customers, and then they typically need a direct mapping for each of their EDI customers — and each mapping must be written, tested and maintained.

Direct mapping

During conversion, the information from the source structure is transferred to the target structure using an individually-created mapping. This 1:1 translation is called "direct mapping" or 1:1 mapping, and it uniquely describes the data relation structure between both trading partners.

Indirect mapping

Canonical mappings

Canonical (indirect) EDI mappings greatly simplify writing, change management and maintenance of mappings with message format definitions as with an EDI message. Canonical (indirect) EDI mappings provide a partner mapping with standard format definitions that are unique for the respective trading partner and convert the EDI message into an abstraction layer format.

A company-specific mapping takes the data from the abstraction layer and converts it to the in-house format that the receiver’s ERP system can consume. This type of indirect EDI mapping approach makes the conversion of an EDI format (e.g. SAP IDoc conversion) easier because it scales better.


SEEBURGER uses SEEXML — a canonical format developed by SEEBURGER.

SEEXML Trading Partner mappings are available for more than 10,000 trading partner relations. For each ERP system and business process, there is one unique process map. On the partner side, there is one ready-to-use partner map that is specific to a trading partner and comes from the SEEBURGER mapping repository.


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Benefits of indirect (canonical) SEEXML EDI mappings

Simple – reduce the number of own unique EDI mappings to the minimum
Scale Externally – connecting a very large number of EDI trading partners quickly
Scale Internally – easily connecting more than one ERP system
Flexible – changes and extensions are much easier and more speedy to implement
Cheaper – cost reduction due to less effort required for creation, maintenance and testing of EDI mappings
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Do you work in a sector with its own specific needs?

Take a look at the SEEBURGER range of industry-specific solutions