Frequently Asked Questions

General Info
1. What is EDI?
2. What is XML?
3. What does DIcentral do?
4. Who is DIcentral?
 
Services
1. What are DIcentral's basic services?
2. How many types of transactions does DIcentral support?
3. Is DIcentral just for large enterprises, or do you provide solutions for smaller companies?
4. Do I have to buy or install software?
5. How much does it cost to use DIcentral's services?
6. Why are DIcentral's services so inexpensive compared to traditional EDI?
7. Can I add additional trading partners?
8. What steps does trading partner enablement involve?
9. How long will it take for DIcentral to connect me to my trading partners?
10. How secure will my transactions be?
11. Does DIcentral compete with e-exchanges?
 
Registration, Pricing, & Billing
1. How do I register, and what will I need to begin?
2. What does it cost to sign up?
3. I was sent a promotional code. What do I do with it?
4. Where do I get a promotional code?
5. How do I choose a service plan?
6. Can I upgrade my service plan later?
7. I am trying to register and I am confused about the pricing. Can you explain what counts as a transaction?
8. Is DIcentral a pay-as-I-go service, or do I have to pay for a plan up front?
9. Do I have to sign a contract?
10. How will I be billed and how often?

11. What is my ISA number?

 
System Requirements
1. What are the complete hardware/system requirements for using DIcentral's services?
2. What is the recommended Internet connection speed to use DIcentral's services?
3. Can I use AOL, WebTV, Netscape, etc.?
 
Managing Transactions
1. Where do I go to receive new business documents (purchase orders, invoices, etc.) that are sent to me?
2. I just viewed a new file that I received and now I can't find it anymore.
3. How do I turn a purchase order around to an 856 Ship Notice?
4. How do I create and send an invoice?
5. I just sent a file but I don't see it in my Outbox.
6. How do I search for a particular invoice?
7. Can I import and export transaction data with other applications?
8. How can I configure the fields in Excel report?
9. How do I change my password?
10. What happens if I forget my password?
11. If I go on vacation is it possible for me to have someone else receive email notifications and go into the site to check for the Purchase Orders?
12. Can different users be assigned different levels of access?
13. Can I turn email notification off?
 
Printing
1. What kind of printer can I use to print documents and labels through DIcentral?
2. How do I print out a document?
3. Can I print shipping labels?
4. Can I create shipping labels using UCC-EAN 128 bar coding with system-generated information that is human readable?
5. Text that I don't want is printing on the top and bottom of my labels. How do I turn off the header & footer to get a clean printout?

6. How can I email a label, and print out the label using that email?

 
General Info
1. What is EDI?

EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. It is an electronic communication system that provides standards for exchanging data via any electronic means. By adhering to the same standard, two different companies, even in two different countries, can electronically exchange documents (such as purchase orders, invoices, shipping notices, and many others). EDI has existed for more than 30 years, and there are many EDI standards (including X12, EDIFACT, ODETTE, etc.), some of which address the needs of specific industries or regions.

In theory, exchanging data electronically should not only save companies time and money, but make it easier, more efficient, and error-free by using computers to transfer all data between a company and its trading partners, rather than faxing or sending handwritten documents through the mail.

But in practice, companies have such differing business practices and platforms that it is difficult to agree on standards. Complex transactions may have unique requirements, and no one standard can encompass all of the possibilities. Each company must make sure that it is adhering to the standards of its trading partners, and vice versa. And nothing in current EDI standards allows for unique changes to those standards.

 
2. What is XML?

XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It is a recently developed computer language that improves upon and extends traditional EDI standards by providing a data file format supported by most systems for communicating structured information across the Internet. Its strength is that not only can it support the common document standards found in traditional EDI, but can also support changes and customizations to documents.

No overall XML standard exists for transmitting business documents. Each industry, or even each large company, is free to adopt its own standard. This can present a challenge to small and mid-size companies. What happens is that companies must still be sure that they can read each other's documents and standards. These one-to-one business relationships require that they be "mapped into" each other. As with traditional EDI, until now this has been prohibitively expensive for all but the largest enterprises because special, expensive software with customized programming and consultants were usually required to make sure that things ran smoothly. This makes it too expensive for the small and medium companies to enjoy XML/EDI's benefits.

XML works well in extending and improving traditional EDI transactions, but it still isn't the answer by itself.

 
3. What does DIcentral do?

DIcentral's revolutionary hosted solutions enable customers to exchange business information seamlessly and efficiently with all of their trading partners, regardless of what file formats or system types they use. Neither our customers nor their trading partners need to install any software, hardware, or employ additional staff. By bridging the gap between the promises of XML/EDI and its availability to all sizes of companies, DIcentral helps customers benefit from e-commerce and as a result gain significant financial and competitive advantage.

Our hosted solutions are different from previous XML/EDI solutions offered by other companies. By mapping your requirements once in a hosted environment, we can then connect you to any number of your trading partners quickly, easily, and at low cost. Our open technology and the fact that it is developed and owned entirely by DIcentral makes it very easy to customize our solutions to whatever documents and data transfer services your company requires.

 
4. Who is DIcentral?

From its inception, DIcentral was supported and managed by a set of experienced entrepreneurs and B2B professionals. An experienced team of engineers develops our technologies, with backgrounds in the NASA space and shuttle programs, and from the aerospace industry.

DIcentral CEO Thuy Mai received a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Illinois. Mr. Mai worked for United Space Alliance/Unisys assigned to NASA as a Supervisor of the System Software Shuttle Mission Simulator Group. He also worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories as a Technical Lead of the 5ESS/ISDN System Resource Performance Group. Mr. Mai was a co-founder of Maingate Corporation which developed WebDI, the first generation of the technology DIcentral has expanded and improved upon. After Maingate's merger with Channelinx.com, Thuy founded DIcentral Corporation in 2000.

DIcentral's Board of Directors and Advisors include leaders of business and the computer industry, including Trung Dung, CEO of Tascola, Inc., and founder of OnDisplay, Inc, a pioneering developer of B2B infrastructure products; Michael Mulcahy, Vice President of Global Alliances & Partnership at Compaq Computers; Mark Weisberger, Vice President and General Manager of the E-marketplace Division at Softface; and others. For more information, see the our "Company" page.

 

Services FAQs

1. What are DIcentral's basic services?

DIcentral provides a complete, Internet-based platform of business-to-business (B2B) data integration services for enterprises and small to mid-size companies. DIcentral's suite of Internet-based applications, Total B2B Data Integration, enables businesses and corporations of any size to achieve B2B data integration without the costly investment in localized software and hardware technology, and without the costs of ongoing management of B2B relationships.

Our customers can exchange business information seamlessly and efficiently with all of their trading partners, regardless of what types of systems they have. Since our solutions are hosted, neither our customers nor their trading partners need to install any software, hardware, or employ additional staff.

 
2. How many types of transactions does DIcentral support?

DIcentral supports virtually all electronic transactions. The system was tested and certified with more than 3,000 different transactions.

 
3. Is DIcentral just for large enterprises, or do you provide solutions for smaller companies?

Companies can now have a B2B e-commerce initiative regardless of size. The two biggest impediments to smaller companies becoming electronically enabled are the complexity and the cost. DIcentral removes the barriers by getting everyone connected easily and efficiently, at low cost.

Small to mid-size companies are less technology-savvy and often operate on extremely small budgets. They also have needs that are different from large enterprises, and cannot realistically operate on a stripped-down version of a larger enterprise solution. Enablement of small to mid-size companies requires an in-depth knowledge of their business challenges. This requires personal contact, solutions tailored specifically for the mid-market, and guidance toward the service best suited for their current and future needs.

 
4. Do I have to buy or install software?

DIcentral's services are entirely web-based, with no investment necessary for new software. Our hosted, pay-as-you-go solution removes the hassle of maintaining upgrades or paying for the usual consultants to customize a software solution. The open architecture of DIcentral's technology allows for extreme flexibility and ease of customization.

Let us know what you need, and we can tailor your solution in days or weeks rather than the months required in the past for data integration!

   
5. How much does it cost to use DIcentral's services?

Subscribers pay a nominal transaction fee rather instead of making a large investment in software or hardware. The subscriber is not responsible for maintaining or upgrading technology because there is no software to buy!

 
6. Why are DIcentral's services so inexpensive compared to traditional EDI?

Traditional EDI costs an average $100,000 for hardware, software, installation, training, and ongoing maintenance, not including the new XML or applications formats. With DIcentral, there is no extra software or hardware to buy, nor will you need additional IT staff. All translations take place within the DIcentral servers. And unlike traditional VAN-based EDI, DIcentral has minimal testing requirements and no internal setup requirements.

 
7. Can I add additional trading partners?

It's easy to add additional trading partners. All that DIcentral needs is contact information for your partners in order to receive their data implementation guidelines. Integration can usually be completed within a week depending upon the types of transactions required. Email DIcentral customer support or call for more information at (281) 480-1121.

 
8. What steps does trading partner enablement involve?

DIcentral's enablement steps are:

a. Register each trading partner, and/or confirm each partner's self-registration.
b. Recommend the appropriate connection and service options.
c. Establish trading partners' data mapping guidelines.
d. Test and certify data.
e. Activate trading partner accounts, permissions, and authorize electronic documents.

 
9. How long will it take for DIcentral to connect me to my trading partners?

If your trading partner is already a member of our Trading Community, it's matter of two to four hours. Otherwise, it will take from one to five days.

 
10. How secure will my transactions be?

Transactions are conducted through DIcentral using triple layer security. This includes Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 128bit encryption, Microsoft application encryption, and proprietary DIcentral encryption.

Our DItrans product is certified by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide accurate and strict syntax detection, business rule verification, and data validation.

 
11. Does DIcentral compete with e-exchanges?

No, but we can help exchanges with integration issues associated with connecting disparate applications among participants.

 

Registration, Pricing, & Billing FAQs

1. How do I register, and what will I need to begin?

To get connected, simply e-mail sales@dicentral.com with your company and contact names, titles, e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Need additional help getting registered? Email DIcentral customer support or call (281) 480-1121.

 
2. What does it cost to sign up?

There is a small one-time setup fee, and service plans start at as little as $30 per month!

 
3. I was sent a promotional code. What do I do with it?

From the Get Connected page, enter your promotional code into the promotional code login box, and follow the instructions that will appear on your screen.

 
4. Where do I get a promotional code?

If your trading partner has told you about DIcentral or requested you move transactions through us, they may have a promotional code for you already that you can request from them. Otherwise, you may email a DIcentral representative or call (281) 480-1121.

 
5. How do I choose a service plan?

Service plans are based upon the number of transactions you complete each month. Keep in mind that to complete an order cycle, there are usually at least two transactions involved.

For example, once a customer sends you a purchase order, you may send a Ship Notice back to them before sending them an invoice. This represents three transactions to complete this one order cycle. Fulfilling ten purchase orders like these in a month would equal 30 transactions.

 
6. Can I upgrade my service plan later?

You may upgrade or change your service plan at any time in the future with no penalties or fees.

 
7. I am trying to register and I am confused about the pricing. Can you explain what counts as a transaction?

A transaction is any electronic document received or sent by you. Every new purchase order that you receive counts as one transaction, and every invoice you send counts as another transaction.

DIcentral classifies every 1,000 characters as constituting one transaction. Most business transactions are smaller than this, but anything over 1,000 characters counts as a second transaction.

 
8. Is DIcentral a pay-as-I-go service, or do I have to pay for a plan up front?

After subscribing to a monthly service plan, you may change or cancel your service any time you wish, with thirty days notice. There is no requirement for an annual subscription or long commitment.

 
9. Do I have to sign a contract?

There is no requirement to sign a contract beyond the monthly payment agreement. Other service levels or special requirements are negotiable.

 
10. How will I be billed and how often?

You will receive a monthly statement through the U.S. Postal Service. If you prefer to be billed using EDI or through a bank transfer, contact a DIcentral representative at (281) 480-1121.

 
11. What is my ISA number?

The Interchange Sender Address (ISA) number is a code used in EDI systems to uniquely identify the sender and recipient of data. An ISA qualifier is a code that describes the source of the ISA number (for example, a company might use its DUNS number as its ISA number). As a DIcentral subscriber, the only identifiers that affect you are the EC Addresses that identify you and your trading partners. Your ISA and Qualifier are assigned by DIcentral when you enroll as a DIcentral trading partner.

 

System Requirements

1. What are the complete hardware/system requirements for using DIcentral's services?

To use DIcentral online, you'll need to make sure you have:

  • Working Internet connection. Any Internet connection is sufficient for transmitting documents. Broadband connection (DSL, LAN, T1, etc) recommended but not required.
  • Microsoft Windows 95/98, NT, 2000, ME, or XP operating system.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (Netscape Navigator and AOL are not supported)
  • Microsoft (Java) Virtual Machine installed for Internet Explorer.
  • Javascript must be enabled in your browser settings.
  • ActiveX must be enabled in your browser settings.
  • Cookies must be enabled in your browser settings.
  • Screen Resolution must be set to 1024x768 pixels.

  • Recommended minimum hardware specifications of 400 MHz processor with 128 MB RAM memory installed. Systems not meeting these recommendations may experience slowdown or inability to create complex documents. Customers creating the 856 ASN are recommended to have minimum system requirements of 700 MHz, 128 MB RAM.

If you only need to send and receive data directly to and from your ERP application, all that is required is an Internet connection.

See our Browser Check for a quick scan of your current system specifications, and instrauctions on how to make adjustments to your browser.

 
2. What is the recommended Internet connection speed to use DIcentral's services?

You may send and receive transactions through DIcentral using any available Internet connection, from dial-up to T1. A better connection will provide faster uploading and downloading of files, especially large or batch files. But since most EDI files are raw text, dial-up connection will work fine for smaller transaction volumes.

 
3. Can I use Netscape, AOL, WebTV, etc.?

DIcentral is designed, tested, and recommended for optimum use with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. DIcentral does not guarantee that all features or displays function correctly when using any other browser. Systems below the minimum recommendations may not be able to access all features.

 

Managing Transactions

1. Where do I go to receive new business documents (purchase orders, invoices, etc.) that are sent to me?

Log in to your account from the DIcentral home page. Immediately your inbox will appear, with the new and unread incoming documents listed. View your documents by clicking on the document numbers. You may sort this list in any way you wish by click on the column headings. You may also search the Inbox from the search bar at the top of the page, by document type or by trading partner.

If you have set up your data transfers to be integrated with an outside application, the new documents will appear within that application. However, you may still review documents using the web-based method described above.

For more information about the User Interface, see our demonstration on this topic, "DIgateway™ Standard View."

 
2. I just viewed a new file that I received and now I can't find it anymore.

After you view a new file the system will automatically send a 997 Functional Acknowledgement to the sender and mark it as "Old" in your directory.

 
3. How do I turn a purchase order around to an 856 Ship Notice?

See our web demonstration on this topic, "856 Advance Ship Notice."

 
4. How do I create and send an invoice?

There are three ways to send data from your system to DIcentral:

a. Electric Form: Log into your account, click Send > By Form > 810 Invoice. Browse your drive for the invoice to upload, and then click Submit Query.
b. File Upload: Log into your account tem, click Send > By Upload > 810 Invoice.
c. Automation: You can use DIconnect, SSL, or FTP to send your data directly from your ERP system. See our web demonstration on this topic, "
DIconnect®."

 
5. I just sent a file but I don't see it in my Outbox.

If you are uploading files from your own computer drive or application to send to a trading partner, there will be a short delay until DIcentral translates the file before it appears in your Outbox. This takes less than an hour, and usually only ten or fifteen minutes. When you create and send a document using DIfiller, it will appear immediately in your Outbox.

 
6. How do I search for a particular invoice?

From the Standard View, under Inbox and Outbox, there are search boxes.

From the Tree View, click Mail Box > Inbox/Outbox > Search. You may search by Date, Trading Partner, or Document Key (Invoice Number).

 
7. Can I import and export transaction data with other applications?

Yes! DIcentral offers a web-based tool for you to import data into your format specification. Currently, DIcentral is compatible with applications including SAP, IBM PRISM, MS Access, MS Excel, Peach Tree, MS Great Plain, MS SQL, Oracle, IBM MQ-Series, MS MQ and many other ERP/accounting systems.

Email DIcentral technical support for additional information.

 
8. How can I configure the fields in Excel report?

From the Tree View, click User Configuration > Report Configuration. You may select or deselect fields as desired, choose to receive the report weekly or monthly, and choose the sorting criteria.

 
9. How do I change my password?

Login from the DIcentral home page, and from the Tree View, click User Configuration > Miscellaneous > Change Password.

 
10. What happens if I forget my password?

If you forget your password, please call DIcentral technical support at (281) 480-1121.

 
11. If I go on vacation is it possible for me to have someone else receive email notifications and go into the site to check for the Purchase Orders?

Yes. Login from the DIcentral home page, and from the Tree View, click User Configuration > Miscellaneous > Email Notification. From here you may change the email address for notifications when new documents arrive in your Inbox.

 
12. Can different users be assigned different levels of access?

Yes, our system is designed to accommodate three different levels of access: Group access can manage a group of user accounts, User Access can manage a single account for a user, and Read-only Access like User access, except the data is for viewing only.

These user levels are customizable. Email DIcentral technical support for more information or call (281) 480-1121.

 
13. Can I turn email notification off?

Yes. Login from the DIcentral home page, and from the Tree View, click User Configuration > Miscellaneous > Email Notification. Uncheck the box that says, "Check here for email notification for each new file in your Inbox".

 

Printing

1. What kind of printer can I use to print documents and labels through DIcentral?

Any standard printer may be used to print documents and labels from DIcentral, as easily as printing a web page. Inkjet, laser, even dot matrix for documents and laser, thermal printers for labels should work. Please check with your trading partner to make sure that your shipping labels comply with their shipping requirements (regarding size, included information, ink and paper type, etc.). Some companies require specific types of printers or label quality for incoming shipping labels.

If you have problems, or need assistance locating a particular printer driver, contact DIcentral technical support (support@dicentral.com).

 
2. How do I print out a document?

To print a document from your account window simply check the box beside the document name, and then click the "Print HTML" button at the bottom of the page. The document will print out in an easily readable form. You may batch print multiple documents by checking boxes for more than one document before printing.

 
3. Can I print shipping labels?

Yes. From your Outbox, documents that apply to shipping labels (such as the 856 Ship Notice) will have a "Label" button under the Label column. Click this, and the shipping label options box will appear. From here you may change the pre-populated data and choose formatting options before printing from your local or network printer to formatted blank shipping labels.

 
4. Can I create shipping labels using UCC-EAN 128 bar coding with system-generated information that is human readable?

Yes, bar coding is part of our system. The label is pre-mapped basing on the buyer's requirement and specification, and you can print the label directly from your Internet browser. No extra software, no extra cost.

 
5. Text that I don't want is printing on the top and bottom of my labels. How do I turn off the header & footer to get a clean printout?

From your Internet Explorer browser menu, click File > Page Setup and delete the text in the "Header" and "Footer" text fields. Write down the formulas before deleting if you wish to restore the settings after printing (this text is the formulas that display information such as the date, web address, etc, when you print a web page). It is perfectly safe to delete this information, but you may wish to restore it later after printing your labels.

 
6. Can I email a label, and print out the label using that email?

You can email a label and use that email to print the label. Follow these steps:

a. Make sure that your email program and the recipient's email program can send and receive HTML emails (see below).
b. From your Outbox, click on the "Label" column beside the 856 Ship Notice that applies to the order. Configure your label until you reach the final print preview.
c. Right-click on the white edge of this preview screen, and choose "Select All." This will highlight the label text.
d. With the label highlighted, right-click again and choose "Copy."
e. Open a new email. Paste the label into the body of the email, either by right-clicking in the email and choosing "Paste," or by choosing "Paste" from the Edit menu at the top of the email program (as an alternative to copying and pasting, you may also drag-and-drop the highlighted label text into the new email).

To confirm if the sender's and receiver's Outlook email program settings are configured to send and receive HTML emails, both should follow these steps:

a. From the menu bar at the top of the Outlook screen, choose Tools > Options .
b. From the Options dialogue box choose the Mail Format tab.
c. From the Message Format section, make sure that "Send in this message format" is set to HTML from the pull-down menu.
d. Select "OK" and exit.

Email programs other than Outlook should also have the HTML option accessible from their user settings menu. If you aren't sure, look at other emails that you receive. If you can receive emails including pictures, graphics, colored text, etc., then your email program is already set to receive HTML emails.


<< Back | Home >>

Copyright 2002 DIcentral Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Privacy statement.