How interoperability makes business easier

April 15, 2024

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 refers to the ability of different systems, devices, applications, or products to connect and communicate in a coordinated way, without special effort from the user. This involves the sharing of information and functionality between multiple systems through standard interfaces.

It is also the term used when e-invoicing service providers establish a scalable connection between their platforms. These scalable connections let service providers exchange electronic business documents such as e-orders and e-invoices between their networks for the benefit of their 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.

It’s this application of open, highly scalable and standardised connectivity between service providers that presents powerful possibilities for all businesses and their entire ecosystem of trading parties – wherever they are operating in the world. This philosophy moves beyond traditional point-to-point (EDI) connectivity; into the modern world of high-speed, scalable and trusted connectivity.


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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 document exchange networks are often found in countries, regions or specific industries serving 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. These traditionally closed technologies are being challenged by the need for modern, open and connected technology solutions. In particular, government-driven digitisation of invoice and tax flows, in addition to the increasing demands by multinational organisations to adopt a consolidated view of their global business operations.

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.

Think again about when you choose your cell phone and network – you make choices based on the technology, package and personal value to you. The connectivity and reach is expected, as standard. At Pagero, we believe the same should be expected when it comes to choosing a global e-invoice and tax technology partner.

Working together for common standards

Organisations such as EESPA (the European E-Invoicing Service Providers Association), OpenPeppolTIEKE (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 other platforms, service providers and industry forums to drive openness and interoperability. As an active participant, Pagero deeply understands and leads the market to make it simpler for our customers to connect with their trading communities – without the need for traditional point-to-point connectivity. 

At Pagero, we have been committed to open network connectivity from the start. We have interoperability agreements with a large number of other operators. We actively seek and collaborate with service providers all over the world to continuously grow our network reach for the benefit of all our customer.

This is more than simply connectivity between platforms. We believe that business should hold their service providers to account for enable modern, scalable and standardised connectivity – without the traditional technical efforts and costs that are associated with point-to-point (EDI) connectivity.

This text was originally published 2 April  2020 and last updated on 15 April 2024. 


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Pagero’s platform is designed for interoperability with other service providers, making it easy for you to do business.
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