Over a period of years, ICEDIS specified and developed three main message formats to help automate various aspects of the subscription sales and renewal process. EDItEUR now maintains and supports these messages although no active development is planned as more modern formats are progressively introduced. Overwhelmingly these particular ICEDIS messages are used between subscription agents and publishers.
The messages may be best imagined as supporting three sequential steps, although they do not have to be used in precisely this way:
Advice on Existing Subscription (AES). Synchronizing publisher and agent records relating to existing subscriptions, usually in preparation for later renewal of those subscriptions. This is a two-way process, usually initiated by the publisher.
Price at Subscription Level (PSL). Transmitting to the agent specific prices that will be expected for particular customers subscribing to particular subscription products. Usually the context here is those subscriptions that are subject to negotiation, deep discounting, etc., and thus prices may differ from publically listed catalog prices. This communication is from publisher to agent.
Subscription Order, Renewal and Transfer (ORT). Renewing an existing subscription, placing an order for a new subscription, or renewing a “transfer” subscription that has previously been managed by another agent. ORT messages are sent by the agent to the publisher.
Structurally, the messages share a common approach. Each message file consists essentially of a long ASCII string with no delimiters or carriage returns. Information is held in a number of data areas of fixed length: the position of the data element within the file defines its purpose and is critical in the correct interpretation of the data. The messages also have file headers to convey administrative information and control totals to assist in message generation and file integrity checking.
Typically, message files are exchanged between business partners using secure FTP arrangements.
More detailed information on message structure and on the expected “choreography” of messaging can be found in the ICEDIS Complete Messages & Guidelines (PDF format) or on the respective web pages for each format (see above).
Price/Payment Reconciliation: ICEDIS Best Practice. This set of best practice recommendations on a key aspect of subscription ordering and renewals was developed by an ICEDIS Working Group and is made available here for guidance to publishing professionals involved in any way with subscriptions processing.