Once an organisation has developed and tested its EDI system to the best of its ability, further system tests are conducted in pilot mode with selected trading partners. The EDI pilot is critical. It enables an organisation to refine its own system, show the benefits that can be achieved and ensure that it can integrate with trading partners.
Organisations should set up a pilot project with a small number of trading partners. The organisations with the most EDI experience make the best pilot partners. To be successful, the pilot must focus on one primary EDI application such as simple purchase orders.
Begin by transmitting documents to the pilot partners, who will confirm that the documents can be processed accurately. Pilot partners then return data for testing. As each of these tests is completed successfully, each pilot partner begins to send real orders, which tests the capability of the system to handle daily business processing.
Paper transactions are not eliminated, however, until both trading partners are completely satisfied that the EDI system is performing well.
Pilot project results must then be analysed from an internal perspective to answer the following questions:
- Can the EDI system maintain adequate control?
- Does the system appear to provide the benefits projected in the original EDI study?
- Will the system handle anticipated EDI traffic?
- Are internal users satisfied with the result?