This paper explores the development of standards for electronic data interchange (EDI), which are needed to allow the inter-organizational exchange of structured information between computer systems. It focuses on the EDIFACT message development process which began informally as a mechanism for developing international standards for EDI. Since its inception, the rapidly growing scope of the process-in terms of the number of messages being developed, geography and range of industrial sectors-has forced the process to become increasingly formalized. As the process has widened outside Europe, it has become necessary for it to accommodate a wider range of business practices and reconcile the competing objectives of user groups. For many user groups, the focus of their interest in message development has moved from the development of EDIFACT standard messages to agreement on the use of subsets of these messages. A particular issue has been the moves in the US to align the national EDI standard ANSI X12 with EDIFACT, where, in addition to the technical changes required to satisfy the EDIFACT syntax, participation in EDIFACT represents a culture change from a domestic consensus process to an international delegated hierarchy. The paper describes how the EDIFACT process has adapted to these pressures through the formalization of its internal structures and processes, and considers whether or not there is a future for EDIFACT as a global process.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Technology Analysis and Strategic Management|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|