OCA's EDI Framework: Our new partner

En today's corporate world, we often focus on enhancing internal processes to improve our efficiency. However, we frequently underestimate the importance of effective communication with the entities we regularly collaborate with. This system of intercommunication between systems is known as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), and it is vital for this aspect. Odoo offers a specialized EDI system for invoices, but currently, this communication only functions in one direction (outbound).

The Odoo Community Association (OCA) has defined a more complex system intended to manage these file exchanges in a unified manner. This advancement is a testament to the collaboration within the Odoo community and its commitment to continuous progress.

The Origin of the OCA Framework

Historically, a preliminary system for exchanging Spanish electronic invoices was defined to integrate correctly with FACe. In November 2020, within a mere 4-hour difference, two initiatives were created, each attempting to address issues with many common points. On one hand,  Simone Orsi defined a system designed for intercommunication of warehouse files, while I proposed an integration system for invoices. Recognizing the synergy between these ideas, they joined forces and developed a unified system.

Advantages of Using a Framework

  • Automation: One of the main advantages of the EDI Framework is its ability to automate data transfer. This means that companies can reduce the need for manual data entry, subsequently reducing errors and increasing efficiency.
  • Improved Accuracy: By minimizing human intervention in the process, the EDI Framework helps eliminate common data entry errors, which are crucial in commercial environments where precision is essential.
  • Time and Cost Savings: Automation and accuracy reduce the time required to complete business transactions, resulting in reduced operating costs.
  • Universal Compatibility: The EDI Framework is compatible with a wide range of industry standards, facilitating communication with business partners, regardless of their location.
  • Contributing to Sustainability: By reducing the use of paper and the need for physical document transportation, the EDI Framework contributes to environmental sustainability.

Characteristics of the OCA Framework

The OCA framework is based on three main concepts:

  • Type of Exchange File:: Defines the unique characteristics of how the file is generated for sending or how the received file is processed.
  • Backend: This serves as the configuration for receiving and sending files. For example, it could include the link path to an SFTP file system.
  • Exchange file: Represents the unique files that are sent or processed, and they are related to generic records within Odoo, such as invoices, material delivery notes, purchases, or sales. 

​Furthermore, the files can be either for inbound or outbound transactions.

Getting Started with the Framework

In this case, it is highly recommended to review the various presentations that have been held on the topic during the OCA Days:

​Additionally, you can explore some of the existing examples in the OCA's EDI repository or review the  invoicing module for FACe to gain a concrete understanding.

The Future of the OCA Framework

Over the past three years, we have seen numerous improvements to this framework, from simplifying file generation to integrating with standard sending and receiving systems. It is expected to continue evolving at a steady pace with the goal of becoming a standard within the OCA.

Moreover, in the Spanish context, it has been in use for several years within Electronic Invoicing and will be used for the management of electronic invoices between companies. Hence, we have a long journey ahead.

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