As any other typical business you presumably find yourself using five to ten different channels to exchange documents with your corporate clients and their service providers. You maintain multiple set-ups with bespoke formats and bilateral exchanges. Not to mention the rigid third-party portals, requiring time-consuming manual input. We call this old-school interop(erability) exchanges, historically grown from a fragmented marketplace.
If you’re already supporting the European Norm on e-Invoicing, for both your B2G and B2B transactions, you still need a solution that helps you upgrade the specific requirements of your legacy agreements.
What if EESPA, the association of service providers that is at the heart of the interop flows, came to the rescue, and decided the obvious: promote the European Norm EN-16931, and a secured e-Delivery network for interop exchanges?
This blogpost focuses on an alternative for your legacy exchanges with demanding business partners. A future-proof standard to manage all your digital business interactions: Interop 2.0.
Let’s dig into some background first.
Why we do not like old-school interop
There are many flaws in this bilateral way of working:
- You are the sponsor of your partner’s digital journey, at the expense of your own efficiency.
- You are tied to service providers and processes that do not match your requirements.
- As solutions are bespoke, there’s no guaranteed payback in case your partner stops doing business with you.
- No economies of scale: Set-up is point-to-point, repeating onboarding costs for each partner relation.
The more interops you support, the worse it gets, since every extra channel results in lower volumes per channel and higher total maintenance costs.
CEF Digital and EESPA: Building blocks and a business network together define Interop 2.0
For its Digital Single Market strategy, Europe funded a set of generic and reusable Digital Building Blocks, presented by the Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF Digital). They facilitate the delivery of digital services across borders and sectors.
- The e-Delivery building block provides a secure messaging infrastructure, using a four-corner interaction model where a business is free to select a service provider regardless of the service provider his partner has selected.
- Another building block has developed the European Norm EN-16931 core invoice standard.
EESPA (the European e-Invoicing Service Providers Association) was established in 2011 to increase cooperation between independent FinTech companies that provide network, business outsourcing, financial, technology and EDI services.
EESPA is setting up a multilateral interop network based on the CEF Digital Building Blocks, replacing a multitude of bilateral connections.
As invoice document standard, EESPA has defined an Extension to the EN-16931 core definition to add flexibility and wider support for many kind of business transactions.
In addition, application responses guarantee delivery confirmation and also allow for business status feedback.
A multilateral network using an agreed document standard and delivery status feedback … What you get is Interop 2.0.
Why should you migrate your interop flows to the EESPA standards?
- The EESPA interop network acts as a one-size-fits-all solution, replacing multiple bilateral connections.
- You select your preferred service provider as EESPA interop partner, independently from your business partners.
- As the solution is standardized, your maintenance cost is spread across all partner interactions, and hence reduced to a minimum for each connection (economies of scale).
- The lead time to add a new connection is much shorter, the exchange quality much higher.
- Re-use ensures a guaranteed return on investment because you don’t depend on one single partner doing business with you.
In short: Instead of sponsoring digitization projects of your business partners, you will have the opportunity to focus on your own digital strategy and presence.
How to upgrade to Interop 2.0 via AdValvas
AdValvas, involved in EESPA since the beginning, was invited to chair the EESPA Interoperability Working Group (IWG). We’re the lead architect of the EESPA interop solution, a multilateral network for interop exchanges.
We have always focused on building bridges between businesses rather than developing a private network. Our strategy is to promote Interop 2.0: multilateral exchange replacing old-school point-to-point exchanges. And if modern, open standard exchange is no option, we still offer support for old-school, legacy interops.
- AdValvas is a certified Peppol access point that enables fast implementation of mandated B2G e-Invoicing, widely adopted in the B2B context as well.
- AdValvas has been certified as a CEF e-Delivery conformant solution.
- AdValvas breathes the European Norm, so to speak, and has heavily invested in the design and promotion of the EESPA extension.
We’re looking forward to talking to you and find out together what Interop 2.0 could mean for your business.