Five factors to consider when picking a PEPPOL provider

Five factors to consider when picking a PEPPOL provider

Five factors to consider when picking a PEPPOL provider

Five factors to consider when picking a PEPPOL provider

Modernizing
EDI

Modernizing
EDId

Modernizin
EDI

Modernizing
EDI

A game-changer for electronic trade.

A game-changer for electronic trade.

4 min read
Intro

EU and beyond

EU and beyond

EU and beyond

EU and beyond

Now in effect in the EU, with other regions following soon.

Now in effect in the EU, with other regions following soon.

4 min read
01

Provider
landscape

Provider
landscape

Provider
landscape

Provider
landscape

All 200+ certified providers offer connectivity, but the similarities end there.

All 200+ certified providers offer connectivity, but the similarities end there.

5 min read
02

Connection pros and cons

Connection pros and cons

Connection pros and cons

Connection pros and cons

Not all connectivity tools are the same, so weigh the pros and cons.

Not all connectivity tools are the same, so weigh the pros and cons.

5 min read
03

The three Ts
of support

The three Ts
of support

The three Ts
of support

The three Ts
of support

Explore the three Ts of support – team, technology and transition.

Explore the three Ts of support – team, technology and transition.

4 min read
04

Plan for
the future

Plan for
the future

Plan for
the future

Plan for
the future

You and your partner should approach PEPPOL with an eye to the future.

You and your partner should approach PEPPOL with an eye to the future.

3 min read
05

12 Questions to ask a provider

12 Questions to ask a provider

12 Questions to ask a provider

12 Questions to ask a provider

You have PEPPOL questions. IBM has answers.

You have PEPPOL questions. IBM has answers.

2 min read

Five factors to consider when picking a PEPPOL provider

Introduction

4 min read

A game-changer for electronic trade.

For decades, the world has relied on electronic data interchange (EDI) to eliminate manual, paper-based processes and facilitate commerce. As business became more digital and global, EDI formats evolved to keep pace, but challenges still remain.

To address the challenge, the European Union (EU) mandated the adoption of interoperable electronic trade to simplify business-to-government (B2G) procurement. The preferred manner of compliance with this EU directive is PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online). PEPPOL approaches EDI differently, as a set of open and interoperable technical specifications for service providers to allow their client organizations to connect and conduct trade electronically. PEPPOL makes it possible for all parties to achieve a return on investment (ROI) by leveraging:

  • Centralization. PEPPOL uses an open, interoperable, business network to offer buyers and sellers an unprecedented degree of freedom. You can select a PEPPOL Access Point provider of your choice to meet your technical and business needs and, through this provider, work with any other trading partner irrespective of which PEPPOL provider the partner uses
  • Reuse. PEPPOL enables the reuse of standardized electronic trade tools, documents and connections. You can reach more trading partners, reusing a single network connection and a fraction of the mappings compared to the past.

PEPPOL makes electronic trade so much easier and more cost-effective that it’s being adopted far more broadly, even outside of Europe. These five considerations can help you prepare to trade in PEPPOL and choose the right partner for your business needs.

01

4 min read

Now in effect in the EU,
with other regions following soon.

In April 2019, the EU directive on electronic trade came into effect with PEPPOL as the primary method for compliance.

Regardless of where your company is located, if you supply goods or services to the public sector in the EU, you should expect to see changes to your supplier contracts that require you to use PEPPOL for ordering and invoicing. PEPPOL increases efficiencies by defining common document specifications, such as purchase order (PO), purchase order response, advanced ship notice (ASN), invoice and credit or debit note. If you work with multiple countries, you may find country-specific variations in these documents.

PEPPOL is expected to simplify e-procurement so radically, that it’s capturing the attention of other governments and companies around the globe. For example:

  • Singapore is preparing to implement PEPPOL trade in mid-2019.
  • Australia and New Zealand announced plans to adopt PEPPOL in late 2019.
  • The US Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis “Business Payments Coalition” has been examining how US trade can be improved through interoperability and standardization. Their findings, which will be published later 2019, will include how to leverage global standardization and interoperability as found in PEPPOL.

Other countries are also closely following these efforts and will likely rollout PEPPOL in the coming years.

Finally, businesses are exploring PEPPOL for general B2B use, as they realize they can capitalize on the PEPPOL connection for B2G trade and increase their ROI from the synergy.

The time is coming to find your PEPPOL partner or risk loss of trade.

02

5 min read

All 200+ certified providers offer connectivity, but the similarities end there.

As of March 2019, there are 219 certified PEPPOL Access Point providers in regions that have mandated or are actively preparing for PEPPOL.

All certified providers offer connectivity to the PEPPOL network using the same protocol and formats, but that is where the similarities end.

Some providers have a global footprint, while others are regional. There are also virtual PEPPOL providers who deliver service using the infrastructure of other PEPPOL providers. Value-added services vary widely.

Although PEPPOL offers greater standardization over previous electronic trade methods, there is still a degree of local complexity and country-level localization that providers must be able to support.

To select the right PEPPOL partner for your business, it’s important to consider:

  • The availability of technical support in the countries, hours and languages needed.
  • The ability to overcome hurdles as new countries, document types and trading partners enter the network – and evidence of prior success.
  • Additional supply chain capabilities offered.
  • In the case of virtual providers, what PEPPOL provider they are using.

Ultimately, the security and reliability of your PEPPOL trading activity will be in the hands of the provider you select to carry your traffic. It is important to understand their core competencies and approach.

03

5 min read

Not all connectivity tools are the same, so weigh the pros and cons.

You can choose to integrate a PEPPOL service directly into your ERP system, through another business tool, through a web portal or on premises. Each connection option has its pros and cons and should be evaluated against current and future trade volumes.

ERP integration. For businesses with high monthly volumes of PEPPOL documents (100s or more), this is often the only viable option. This the most scalable and automated solution that will free up your order processing and billing teams to do higher value work. It enables touchless receipt and delivery of POs into your ERP system and allows you to use automation to initiate order fulfillment and generate ASNs and invoices.

On premises: If your business has a strategy of handling EDI in-house and has already made the accompanying investments in staff, skills and software to do this, then you may only need a provider to handle connectivity with the PEPPOL network on your behalf.

Web portal. For low monthly volumes of PEPPOL documents (fewer than 50), or to get started quickly, a web interface solution is worth considering and sometimes is available free of charge. However, this option generally offers no integration and minimal support. Users must retype or copy and paste business document data from one system to another, which increases the chance for error and can introduce unacceptable risk.

Business tools. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often use a business tool, such as cloud accounting packages, to transact with trading partners. Many providers of these tools are adding PEPPOL connectivity so users can send and receive documents without needing additional tools. This option can allow you to derive more value from your existing investment if the solution can support your current and future volumes of PEPPOL transactions.

04

4 min read

Explore the three Ts of support – team, technology and transition.

Support can have many meanings so to cover all your bases, consider the three Ts:

  1. Team: If trade is strategic to your business, then you need a deep understanding of the level of support a PEPPOL provider can deliver. This includes details on the actual team of technicians who will setup and manage your solution, and their ability to resolve issues in a timely manner.

  2. Technology: You also need to know what type of infrastructure the provider is using to deliver PEPPOL connectivity. While it is possible to run PEPPOL on a laptop, the solution should run in a highly-available and secure environment. If you are in the middle of conducting a transaction with a trading partner and the system goes down, then backup, resiliency and redundancy are critical so that you don’t have to start over or remain in the dark, wondering if the transaction was completed.

  3. Transition: The transition to PEPPOL won’t happen overnight with every trading partner. In the interim, you will need to navigate multiple standards and trading partners at different points in their journeys. If you don’t have in-house EDI resources, or want to remain focused on your core competencies, a provider that offers flexible service management capabilities can help reduce complexity – which, after all, is the promise of PEPPOL.

05

3 min read

You and your partner should approach PEPPOL with an eye to the future.

As organizations around the world prepare for PEPPOL, it’s easy to focus on day-to-day transaction handling to the exclusion of long-term business objectives.

As you search for a PEPPOL provider, the solution, technology, support and price should align with the future needs of your business. This includes expected changes in transaction volumes, geographic reach, document types and additional value-added services you may be considering, such as AI and blockchain.

The PEPPOL provider should also demonstrate their long-term perspective by participating in standards bodies and industry groups, such as:

  • OpenPEPPOL, the group that administers the PEPPOL protocols.
  • OASIS, a nonprofit consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of the open standards, upon which PEPPOL is built.
  • Business Payments Coalition, an expert forum convened by the US Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis focused on growing and improving electronic trade in the US market.

Engagement in these groups requires a significant investment in time and materials, demonstrating a commitment to PEPPOL. Providers who are actively involved are in a position to influence and gain insights into the future of PEPPOL, prepare themselves well in advance of rollouts, and represent your interests as the standard evolves.

1 min read

You have PEPPOL questions.
IBM has answers.

There is a lot to consider when selecting a PEPPOL provider to meet your business and technical needs.

To help, we’ve put together the top 12 questions to ask when evaluating PEPPOL providers. We’ve also included IBM’s responses so you can see how we stack up.

Start your journey to picking the right PEPPOL provider for your business. Download the question and answer now.

08

1 min read

Bringing it all together

When you look at your business results, you will naturally question why certain things are happening.

It’s how you answer those questions that determines your level of competitive advantage. Companies that apply “smarts” to those questions are relying on cognitive services, machine learning, optimization and pattern-based planning to drive better decision-making and identify trends before they even know which questions to ask.

When you think about transforming business processes by traversing the five main types of analytics—planning, descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive—you must remember to first start with a solid analytics foundation. Question what you’re seeing. Manage the blind spots that can undermine your analytics. Once you’ve done that, then you can start getting to better answers you can trust, so you can be confident that the business decisions you’re making are the right ones.