Migrations - A Thing of the Past?
Ever wonder where the EDI version numbers came
from and why they change so infrequently?
If you have been
around EDI for a while, you might remember that
throughout the 1990's we spent lots of time and
effort upgrading EDI versions. When the EDI
standards were new, they naturally evolved more
quickly as we understood and implemented
new business requirements. In order for the
enhancements to take place in an orderly
fashion, the ANSI X12 committees review the
requested changes and once approved they are
held for an annual update to the X12 EDI
During the mid 1990's
we were on version X12 3010 and each year the
standards were upgraded and the last two digits
incremented by 10. In other words, we
migrated from 3010 to version 3020, then 3030
the next year, and so on. The version migration
for the year 2000 (released in 1999) was a major
change in structure by expanding the date fields
and we then jumped to a new series starting with
version 4010. The EDI standards continue to
be enhanced this decade and we have moved to
4020, 4030, and finally this past year to 5010.
We have not seen too
many retailers and hubs using the newer versions
of EDI. Why is this? The hub must look at
the effort required to migrate versus the
benefits of a new version. Most large hubs
have thousands of trading partners communicating
via EDI. When they do decide to upgrade,
they either must decide to continue to support
older versions or require all trading partners
to upgrade. Either choice is costly.
During a version migration each trading partner
being migrated must be tested.
So why upgrade to version 5010?
There has not been a mad rush to upgrade. In
fact a quick survey (based on the retailers'
publicly available EDI guidelines) showed only
one major grocery retailer that is currently
supporting 5010. They are doing so for
implementation of GTIN (Global Trade
Identification Numbers). Here's the current EDI
version of 35 major retailers:
Number of Retailers
We may see some migrations next
year as the retailers release their updates for