Introducing the T-Connect EDI Validator!
All of us who have worked on EDI integration know the pain of maintaining the integrity of the EDI messages coming into the system, as well as the value of validating them right from the pipeline-gate. To aid in this, Microsoft BizTalk Server supports out of the box verification of structural integrity with extended schema validation settings. The great part about this is that it allows us to reject any incoming EDI transactions right out of the gate and return those results in the generated ACK file. This way, we ensure that we don’t let invalid data into the system, while also making the sender aware of our “bad data” rejection.
However, as great as this feature is, it still leaves a major validation pain point.
Let’s consider following scenario.
- Let’s say in the case of EDI 837 transactions, we consider REF*D9 as the claim identifier within our system and we want to ensure that there are no duplicate claims within a given interchange.
- In the same transaction assume the trading partner is sending some other custom information like a Return Date with an NTE Segment, which has a specific format.
- Since we are talking about HIPAA Claims, our organization only processes claims that are higher than a certain threshold.
The common theme in all of the above cases is that the out of the box BizTalk extended validation will process these messages, consider them valid, and let them pass through the system. This will inevitably cause a failure later on in the solution, creating a number of problems on both sides of the transaction.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have some way to perform this kind of validation while inbounding these transactions and reject them in the generated ACK file? That way, messages with invalid data would be filtered out in the same way as messages with structural faults.
It was with this thought in mind that we created the T-Connect EDI Validator. It’s specifically designed to perform such a validation scenario. It provides the features and framework necessary to use the out- of-the-box BizTalk Business Rules Engine in an easy, user configurable way. For the special cases where even this isn’t flexible enough, it is also exposes access points to seamlessly swap in custom adapters for especially specific validation.
A fully functional 30-day trial is available here.
Once the product has been installed, it’s very quick and easy to get validation up and running:
We simply go the receive location we want to set up validation on and select the pipeline from the EDI Validator project.
We then click on the properties, which reveals a set of options for the pipeline.
There are three fields here which need to be altered to use custom rules.
BREValidationPolicyName: Here we fill in the name of the custom policy that we’ve written. In our case the EDIValidation_EX837P rule is one we’ve written to check for duplicate claims.
EDISchemaName: In this field we update the schema being validated.
TransactionNumberXPATH: This field references the transaction number inside the schema we filled in in the EDISchemaName field via XPATH.
After filling in these three fields, we’re all set. The validator will now run the rules we’ve selected on all files received through this location, ensuring that they are validated exactly as we need them to be. As noted before, we can easily update the validation at any time by adjusting the rule set that we’ve chosen, or changing the above configuration properties to point to an entirely different ruleset.
In the off chance that the user finds themselves in a situation in which they need to add even more specific validation than this, our T-Connect EDI Validator is still prepared.
As pictured in the above image, the user is able to substitute in their own custom validation assemblies to suit their own needs. To make it easier, we’ve even separated the assemblies so that rules can be run on entire batches by switching out the batch validation assembly, or at the transaction level by switching out the transaction validation assembly. In most cases our base validation assemblies will already do the trick, but this level of modularity makes the T-Connect EDI Validator flexible enough to fit into any solution.