Electronic data interchange (EDI) has been in use since the 1970s. It is the primary means of business-to-business communication in manufacturing, shipping, retail and healthcare. With such broad and important use, why are EDI messages not an integral part of every enterprise big data initiative?

EDI messages are not easily usable by data scientists. Until now, they have not had the tools they need to parse, query and analyze EDI messages.

EDI messages are cryptic. The standard was designed in a time when bandwidth was expensive, so the messages are as small as possible. As much metadata is stripped from the messages as possible.

EDI messages are encoded tree-structured text documents, not tables. As such, it has always been difficult to analyze EDI in traditional relational databases. Much of the set up cost in EDI, in fact, comes from mapping EDI messages into database tables.


Big EDI (SM) makes EDI data accessible to big data developers and data scientists. It provides developers the tools they need to query and analyze EDI messages in a big data platform.

Big EDI enables you to store EDI messages directly into a NOSQL database. There is no complex mapping to tables. The EDI messages exist as-is in their tree structure. The messages are indexed and searchable.

The Big EDI Workbench makes EDI messages understandable for data scientists and engineers. The entire metadata structure for EDI can be browsed and searched. Developers can load sample messages in and have them translated into English. They can even mouse-over the fields and have the meaning interpreted.

Black box analysis

With Big EDI, you can gain faster insight into not only your own business but also your suppliers and distributors by analyzing EDI messages using big data technology.


In science and engineering, a black box is a device or system that can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs without any knowledge of its internal workings.

EDI provides the inputs and outputs of the enterprise. The inputs are purchase orders and product transfer and resell reports from distributors. The outputs are invoices and ship notices. These messages record the movement of money and goods through the supply and sales channels.

It takes hours, sometimes days for EDI messages to show up in ERP, CRM and data warehouse systems for analysis. Big EDI removes this challenge. EDI messages can be stored and queried as-is. With Big EDI, the data can be available for analysis immediately.