GLN Global Location Number. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners. By moving from a paper-based exchange of business document to one that is electronic, businesses enjoy major benefits such as reduced cost, increased processing speed, reduced errors and improved relationships with business partners. Learn more about the benefits of EDI here. »Each term in the definition is significant: Computer-to-computer– EDI replaces postal mail, fax and email. While email is also an electronic approach, the documents exchanged via email must still be handled by people rather than computers. Having people involved slows down the processing of the documents and also introduces errors. Instead, EDI documents can flow straight through to the appropriate application on the receiver’s computer (e.g., the Order Management System) and processing can begin immediately. These are any of the documents that are typically exchanged between businesses. The most common documents exchanged via EDI are purchase orders, invoices and advance ship notices. But there are many, many others such as bill of lading, customs documents, inventory documents, shipping status documents and payment documents.