Businesses have invested in technology such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to automate internal business processes, including accounts payable and receivable, inventory control, and intra-company communication. However, many of these same companies are slow to automate their business-to-business transactions, such as the exchange of purchase orders, invoices, and bills of lading.
Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is the exchange of information via electronic media, such as the internet and private communications networks. There are two types of e-commerce: Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C). Almost every day, each of us experiences B2C e-commerce, such as when we book airline tickets or hotel reservations online and then receive an electronic confirmation. This book focuses on electronic data interchange (EDI), the most commonly used B2B ecommerce technology.