Electronic Transaction Governance: Implementing Data Quality

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This is the second of a series of five blog posts detailing how to implement Electronic Transaction Governance in your custom software interfaces.  We will also discuss how Wovenware implements Electronic Transaction Governance in the Wovenware Integrator. The Wovenware Integrator is an adaptable software platform that provides visibility and accountability to all electronic transaction processes. Please refer to the What is Electronic Transaction Governance blog post for a detailed explanation of the term.

Electronic Transaction Governance: Data Quality

In this blog post we will discuss the area of Data Quality. Data Quality is the area of Electronic Transaction Governance that verifies the data quality of the electronic transaction message. Not all fields of an electronic transaction message carry important data. Therefore, Data Quality limits its process to verifying the data quality of certain key fields of the electronic message exchange between partners.

An electronic message, regardless of its format ASC X12 EDI, NIEM, HL7, etc., transmits critical and non-critical data in its fields. The determination of how to classify the importance of the data contained in a field must be done every time a new software interface is developed and whenever the message is to be transmitted to a new partner. Once critical fields are identified in the electronic transaction message we can perform data quality validation before the transmission is completed.

Lets continue using our previous post example. Partner A and Partner B decide to exchange new purchase orders through electronic messaging and they agree to exchange the messages using the following xml files:

Partner A Sends New Order Request:

<order>
     <item>
          <sku></sku>
          <quantity></quantity>
          <note></note>
     </item>
</order>

Partner B Responds with New Order Request Acknowledgment:

<order>
     <acknowledgment></acknowledgment>
     <item>
          <sku></sku>
          <quantity></quantity>
          <note></note>
          <price_per_item></<price_per_item>
     </item>
     <total_order_price></<total_order_price>
</order>

For our discussion we will use only the New Order Request message sent by Partner A. Data Quality dictates that we begin by determining which are the critical fields in our message. The critical fields in the New Order Request message are:

  • sku
  • quantity

The sku field must contain a valid sku and the quantity field must have a numerical value greater than zero.

To implement Data Quality a software process must exist to verify the data contained in the sku and quantity fields before the message is transmitted to Partner B. The process would validate that the value contained in the sku field is a valid sku. Similarly, the process would validate the quantity field to certify that the value in the field is a number greater than zero. If any of these validations fail, the process would notify and not allow the electronic transaction message to be sent.

The Wovenware Integrator handles this verification through the configuration of its Application Services implementation. Application Services are customizable software processes, based on a Software Pattern developed by Wovenware Engineers, which can execute following a custom defined business workflow. One of the defined tasks of the business workflow is an Application Service that verifies the data quality of all configured critical fields of the electronic transaction message to be exchanged. If any of the verified fields fails validation, the electronic transaction message is not allowed to continue through the business workflow and a notification message is sent to the system administrator.

In our next post we will discuss how to implement the Audit Trails area of Electronic Transaction Governance.

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