What is an EDI Mapping?

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 Mappings used by the 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.

Relevance of EDI Guidelines for EDI Mappings

Most retailers and automotive vendors are so called “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 or ANSI X12 message structures, which would be huge otherwise. The disadvantage is that the EDI process becomes more complicated when suppliers deal with many customers, where each one uses its own EDI guideline for their respective EDI mapping documents.

As a result, the suppliers need a specific EDI mapping for each of their customers – they then typically need a so called “direct” mapping for each of their EDI customers. But each mapping must to be written, tested and maintained.

Direct EDI Mappings compared with Indirect EDI Mappings

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

Use Canonical (Indirect) EDI Mappings for efficient EDI Message implementation

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. Such an indirect EDI mapping approach makes the conversion of an EDI format from or to e.g. SAP IDoc conversion much easier because it scales much better.


SEEBURGER uses SEEXML as 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 process map which is unique, whereas on the partner side there is one ready to use “partner map” which is specific to a trading partner comes from the huge mapping repository from SEEBURGER”.

These trading partner EDI mappings are a product under maintenance, whilst any changes to the backend simply requires a change to the process map.

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
  • X12N - Insurance

Do you have any questions?

Please contact us!