August 24, 2016 | Written by: Ger Clancy
Categorized: PEPPOL Directory
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PEPPOL Directory getting closer
It’s time for a status update on PEPPOL Directory, and share some good news after more than 2 years of hard work.
We set out to find a way of helping PEPPOL users derive more benefit from their investments. “There must be an easier way” to discover and connect with new trade partners on the PEPPOL network. The goal was that a PEPPOL user, or prospective user, can check easily if a trading partner already uses PEPPOL. This should enable organic expansion from public sector led “business-to-government” towards classic “business-to-business” use.
We built and refined Use Cases, and architectural and operational models for a PEPPOL Directory service. While we have not found total consensus across all of the Pan-European PEPPOL stakeholders regarding all of these details, we took recently a decisive step forward towards PEPPOL Directory.
At the beginning of July 2016, OpenPEPPOL started engagement with the European Commission technical team. The desired result is them taking on the operation of the future PEPPOL Directory service. This will run on a neutral and independent basis, as they provide for some of the other core PEPPOL network functions.
Over the coming weeks, I expect this engagement to generate a further round of discussion, and some further development to polish off the final specification. The finishing line will be in sight by then though, taking into account the technical and operational realities of delivering the service to the wider PEPPOL world.
The link and screenshot below shows real-world PEPPOL user data, retrieved from the IBM production SMP. This instance of the Directory service is hosted in the interim on servers operated by the PEPPOL Directory core team. In future we hope the hosting will be on independent infrastructure, hopefully operated by the EU technical team that manages the PEPPOL SML service.
This example shows the type of data that can be contained in PEPPOL directory, as well as the lookup functionality.
There are some other examples if you search instead for “test”, “IBM”, “UK” or “Austria”
PEPPOL Directory AMO Italy
Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) operates a centralised ERP system for Europe, hosted in Ireland, which serves the needs both of their internal clients and their external trading partners across Europe. This SAP is connected to IBM’s PEPPOL Access point.
PEPPOL Directory allows AMO highlight their capabilities around receiving and sending PEPPOL documents. An AMO client can now look up which document capabilities are available and where. Assuming they are already themselves PEPPOL enabled, they could initiate PEPPOL trade with AMO without further delay.
The contact details gives access to the part of AMO specifically responsible for operation of their PEPPOL service. This facilitates for speedier resolution of issues or queries needing direct contact between the trading partners. Otherwise it could be a long and convoluted path from the technical level in a buyer to their seller counterpart. This all to resolve something that might only need seconds, assuming you only knew who or where to ask.
Access to PEPPOL Directory data as above gives all concerned time to familiarise with the proposed data structure. The decision on how the PEPPOL Directory Business Card will look may rubberstamp this, or settle on an alternative.
For PEPPOL Access Point and SMP operators, why not try this out for yourselves?
You are welcome to go and implement the code and make some real-world data available for indexing.