How interoperability makes business easier
2 April 2020
Written by: Phil Bailey
What exactly does interoperability entail for a business and why is it important to consider when choosing an e-invoicing service provider? Pagero Interoperability Manager Phil Bailey explains how interoperability helps you connect to your business partners and the benefits of choosing an open business network.
An overview of interoperability
Interoperability is essential to enjoying the benefits of e-invoicing, but what exactly does it mean? Apart from being a tongue twister, interoperability is the term used when e-invoicing service providers establish a connection that enables traffic to and from their individual platforms. The connections let service providers send and receive electronic business documents such as e-orders and e-invoices on behalf of their respective customers. Interoperable networks enable communication between systems and platforms that were previously unable to connect.
Operation without interruption
Telecommunications is an example of an industry that has benefitted us all by embracing interoperability. Consider using your phone: do you question if you’ll reach the person at the other end of the line? Whichever operator you use, you make the natural assumption that you will be able to speak to each other.
It was not always quite so simple. In the past, operators tried to restrict customers to their services, charging for calling outside of a given network. Soon it became clear that for the industry to move into the future without falling apart, each network needed to communicate with each other seamlessly. Hence, an interoperable telecommunications network was created.
“We need to break down barriers, find common ground and create standardisation for interoperability.”
In our industry, interoperability is a relatively new idea. However, we are quickly approaching the same tipping point as the telecommunications sector did. We need to be able to work together fluidly with minimum obstacles. To do this, we need to break down barriers, find common ground and create standardisation for interoperability.
Open or closed, that is the question
Just as we see in so many other areas of our industry, there is a debate about open and closed or proprietary systems when it comes to e-invoicing
Closed or proprietary networks, often representing countries, regions or industries, serve isolated communities. Consequently, each community tends to use separate systems and standards. These isolated communities make it complicated and difficult for trading parties outside of the community to connect.
A truly open network integrates seamlessly with new technologies and solutions as they emerge. This provides businesses with the value of having the full freedom of choice for their own operations without the burden of needing to consider what systems or processes their business partners are using.
Working together for common standards
Organisations such as EESPA (the European E-Invoicing Service Providers Association), OpenPeppol, TIEKE (the Finnish Information Society Development Centre) and NEA (the Electronic Business Network) all work to help standardise and ease the e-invoicing process between businesses, institutions and across borders.
“An open system gives businesses a network that extends beyond your service provider and network.”
Aligning the standards for interoperability is key to the harmonisation of e-document exchange. Creating these standards helps companies of all sizes do business freely while complying to local regulations, focusing on growth instead of technical details.
Pagero believes in an open network
Pagero works with the above forums and organisations to gain a broader understanding of the market and to make it easier for our customers to connect with business partners. Furthermore, our involvement assures we stay informed of the latest trends and allows us to influence the industry with our extensive experience and success in working towards global reach.
At Pagero, we have been committed to interoperability from the start. We have agreements with a large number of other operators, and our network is continuously growing. Our goal is to make it possible for customers to reach as many other companies as possible in both the private and public sectors worldwide.
As we all move towards a more open business community, why choose closed networks? Pagero’s goal is to provide customers the best possible reach. We have always believed in openness and it is what we will continue to invest in.