Archive for Publications

Majority of enterprises in the EU27 had a website in 2008

December 10, 2008  |  Publications

Broadband access is increasing
In the EU27, 93% of enterprises of ten or more persons employed had access to the internet in January 2008, the same as in January 2007, and 81% of enterprises had a broadband internet connection, up from 77% in January 2007. On average in the EU27, 64% of enterprises had a website in January 2008, compared with 63% in January 2007. These data2 come from Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, and form part of the results of a community survey conducted at the beginning of 2008 on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in enterprises in the EU27 Member States, Iceland and Norway. Besides the indicators presented, the survey also covers e-commerce, e-government and e-business indicators.

Almost all enterprises in the Netherlands and Finland have internet access
In January 2008, the highest proportions of enterprises with internet access in the EU27 were recorded in the Netherlands and Finland (both 99%), Denmark (98%) and Belgium, Austria and Slovenia (97% each). The percentage was less than 90% in only five Member States: Romania (67%), Bulgaria (83%), Hungary (86%), Latvia (88%) and Cyprus (89%).
The proportion of enterprises with a broadband connection in January 2008 was above 90% in Spain, France and Finland (92% each) and in Belgium (91%). Only in Romania (44%), Lithuania (56%) and Poland (59%) did less than 60% of enterprises have a broadband connection.
The data show that while internet access appears to be approaching saturation in nearly all Member States, the level of broadband internet access is still increasing.

Below you can view the outcome of the survey:

Source: Eurostat

Growing internet access and use in the EU27 in 2008

December 3, 2008  |  Publications

Nearly 30% of individuals use internet banking, 60% of households have internet access.
In the EU27, 60% of households had access to the internet during the first quarter of 2008, compared with 54% during the first quarter of 2007, and 48% had a broadband internet connection, compared with 42% in 2007.
These data published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, represent only a small part of the results of a survey on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals in the EU27 Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Croatia. As well as internet use and broadband connections, the survey also covers other indicators such as e-shopping, e-government and advanced communication and content related services.
Household internet access ranges from 25% in Bulgaria to 86% in the Netherlands
In 2008, the proportion of households with internet access was three quarters or more in the Netherlands (86%), Sweden (84%), Denmark (82%), Luxembourg (80%) and Germany (75%). The lowest levels were registered in Bulgaria (25%), Romania (30%) and Greece (31%).
The proportion of households with a broadband connection in 2008 was also highest in the Netherlands and Denmark (both 74%) and Sweden (71%).
One third of individuals in the EU27 use travel related internet services
In the second quarter of 2008, individuals aged 16-74 in the EU Member States were asked which activities they had carried out on the internet in the previous three months. In the EU27, nearly a third of all individuals had used internet for travel and accommodation services. Around 30% had used internet banking, interacted with public authorities or searched for health-related information. About a quarter had read online news or ordered goods or services. Around 15% had looked for jobs or sent applications by internet.
The Member States which had the highest proportions of individuals performing these internet activities were the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg.

Here you are able to view the entire data overview per country:
Source: Eurostat

SEPA and e-Invoicing: ECB progress report 2008

November 27, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

In the sixth progress report on the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), published this week, the Governing Council of the ECB welcomed the evident progress made on this project, but emphasised that work urgently remains to be done to ensure the success of SEPA. The sixth progress report also contains a list of “Ten milestones for SEPA implementation and migration”.

Read the sixth SEPA progress report of the European Central Bank below:

There have been many new developments since the publication of the fifth progress report in July 2007. The successful launch of SEPA in January 2008 was a major achievement. With the introduction of the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) on 28 January 2008, the first benefits of SEPA have materialised for banks and, more importantly, for the end-users of payment services. National SEPA implementation and migration plans have been drafted and published. Most automated clearing houses that were processing credit transfers in euro are now able to process SCTs. In January 2008, SEPA was also started for card payments, but more effort is needed in this area if the goals of the SEPA project are to be achieved, for example the emergence of at least one additional European card scheme.

Preparations for the third type of payment instrument, SEPA Direct Debit (SDD), have continued over the past year, resulting in the adoption of the Rulebooks. The launch of the SDD is scheduled for 1 November 2009. Nevertheless, the launch of this important SEPA instrument needs to be accompanied by clarification between the banking sector and the relevant competition authorities with regard to the possible interbank pricing models. This issue needs to be resolved urgently. Finally, considerable progress has been made in the fields of e-payments and mobile payments.

The areas which require most attention now are: a) the timely launch of the SEPA Direct Debit on 1 November 2009; b) the emergence of an additional European card scheme; and c) measures to stimulate migration to SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit, including the setting of a realistic, but ambitious end-date for national credit transfers and direct debits.

The key messages of this report, which should be followed up by the market to ensure the success of SEPA, are as follows:

1. Banks need to ensure more communication, clear product offerings and the delivery of a consistent customer experience in order to stimulate the uptake of SEPA Credit Transfer by all customers, with public administrations, in particular, becoming early adopters.

2. The remaining obstacles to a timely launch of SEPA Direct Debit should be overcome. To move forward, solutions must be found urgently, e.g. by providing clarity on the launch date, ensuring the continued validity of existing mandates, meeting customer requirements, increasing communication efforts and closing the debate on the multilateral interchange fee.

3. SEPA needs to enable end-to-end straight-through-processing (whereby payments are processed smoothly  nd without manual intervention) and to move beyond core and basic products by embracing innovative products and services, such as m-payments, e-payments, e-invoicing, etc.

4. The setting of a realistic, but ambitious end-date for the migration to SCT and SDD is a necessary step in order to reap the benefits of SEPA early.

5. A more ambitious approach needs to be taken towards the SEPA for Cards and supporting market initiatives to create a European card scheme.

6. The European payment industry should ensure that it has adequate influence over the SEPA cards standards, which should preferably be non-proprietary standards – The EPC is to advance the SEPA cards standardisation programme.

7. Security is the basis for trust in SEPA payments, and all stakeholders need to continue and even intensify their efforts.

8. Infrastructures are leading by example, but the remaining restrictions on interoperability should be removed.

9. Good governance of the SEPA project requires changes to the EPC’s mandate and organisation. One short-term step would be to strengthen the EPC’s Secretariat so that it can adequately support the EPC in its many tasks. In the medium to longer term, more substantial changes are needed to improve the EPC’s effectiveness, transparency and accountability.

10. Clarity and certainty with regard to the SEPA tasks: the SEPA implementation and migration milestones provide a list of concrete tasks that the Eurosystem expects to be fulfilled to ensure the success of the SEPA project.

The addressees of the report are not only the banks and future payment institutions, but all relevant stakeholders, such as corporates, public administrations, merchants and consumers.

The report is available in other official Community languages in due course.

Source: European Central Bank

Spanish Plan Avanza supports new technologies in SMEs

November 25, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

The Plan Avanza has mobilised € 1800 million in 2006-2008 to facilitate the introduction of new technologies in Spanish SMEs. David Cierco, Director General for Development of the Information Society within the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade unveiled this information on the occasion of the presentation of the Prointur project (Profesionalización del Turismo de Interior), a project funded under the Plan Avanza.
The programme ‘Avanza SMEs’ of Plan Avanza endeavours to increase the ICT level of adoption by SMEs through the introduction of sectoral solutions and eBusiness, including the introduction of eInvoicing. The implementation of these measures has been done through calls for aid, agreements with regional governments and ICT loans.

Avanza SME has several lines of action:

– outreach programmes to expand the use of the Internet and new technologies;
– provision of technological advice;
– training and awareness-raising on the efficient use of ICT;
– implementation of projects and actions to develop and adopt business solutions;
– preparation of studies and analysis;
– programmes for content creation;
– provision of computer equipment.

Mr. Cierco reminded the audience that the new plan Avanza2, “the normal evolution of the Plan Avanza,” pursues qualitative and specific objectives, through five areas of action: infrastructure, security and trust, technological training, digital content and services and industrial development.

Prointur is a project of the foundation Fundetec whose aim is to promote the use of Information Technologies and Communication Technologies (ICT) within the internal and rural tourism accommodation sector, as an instrument to professionalize the business management while increasing the activity. The initiative is funded jointly by Fundetec, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade – through the Plan Avanza – and the European Union.


Further information: Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade

CEN / Adobe: Intelligent PDF and XML for legally valid electronic invoicing

November 21, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications
The following publication explains a way of using Intelligent PDF to support compliante Invoicing solutions. Adobe has worked together with CEN to create a white paper in which a relatively new type PDF solution is worked out.
The PDF is an intelligent message. The PDF document offers not only an optical readable invoice, but also billing data extracted in XML. Besides this, even charging can be audited.

Read the entire article here:


ePractice: European Electronic Invoicing Platform introduced

November 13, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

Following its eInvoicing initiative ‘Platform ELFA’ in the Netherlands, Dutch-based Factuurwijzer has recently set off activities in the European eInvoicing field. The aim is to raise awareness of eInvoicing while improving its implementation through the European Electronic Invoicing (EEI) Platform.
The growth of eInvoicing allows everyone to benefit from the great advantages of electronic invoicing compared to paper invoicing. The EEI Platform aims to support the implementation of eInvoicing through online participation and cooperation between individual companies, trade organisations and the public sector.

In addition, participants will benefit from the results achieved by a wide range of activities, namely, publicity, implementation, standardisation, accreditation and promotion.

Currently, a lot of effort is devoted to composing a strong international group of Founding Partners which will form the roots of this initiative. Meanwhile, over ten organisations have signed up as Founding Partners, or participants with the EEI Platform.

EEI Platform is a variant of the Dutch Electronic Invoicing Platform (ELFA), a grouping of organisations directly or indirectly linked to electronic invoicing: software providers, industry associations, government institutions and users.

In the Netherlands, Platform ELFA plays an important part in the implementation process of eBilling while providing substantial information, news and background documentation through its interactive website. In addition, it is possible for audiences to communicate with each other on eInvoicing and related topics via several social tools.

Participation in the EEI Platform is not only suitable for specialists such as billing service providers. It is also possible for users, banks, public institutions, educational institutions and industry associations to join and benefit from this initiative. Furthermore, organisations whose activities are neighbouring the main sectors, such as credit-management organisations and financial institutions, are also invited to participate.


e-Invoicing adoption continues to skyrocket

November 8, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

Prediction by GXS Senior Marketing Manager, Rochelle Cohen   

2008 will see a veritable explosion in the adoption of e-invoicing to help businesses automate their accounting processes. Businesses are increasingly applying technology to automate their procure-to-pay process and gain the dramatic business benefits that have been documented in numerous case studies and benchmarks. When e-invoicing is integrated with automated workflow and e-payments—which over 90 percent of large enterprises are doing or planning to implement—it enables companies to not only reap significant hard dollar cost savings from reduced operational costs associated with handling paper, but also to take advantage of discounts that can add millions of dollars to the company’s bottom line.
Furthermore, more companies are taking advantage of the opportunity brought about by this “perfect storm” of automation to gain even greater savings by leveraging prorated discount structures or discounts negotiated once invoices are ready to be paid. 
Further fueling the adoption of e-invoicing are electronic invoicing legislation, such as the EU Council Directive 2001/115/EC which allows the electronic invoice to serve as the legal invoice in the European Union, and the availability of third party service providers that now offer a broad range of translation, protocol mediation and regulatory compliance services. These services enable companies to overcome the barriers that have prevented 100 percent trading partner participation in the past.
For example, now even small trading partners can participate in e-invoicing programs without changing their current processes. And, suppliers are beginning to welcome the opportunity because they recognize the benefits they too will receive; this is particularly true when buyers promise faster payments in return for electronic invoicing. Furthermore, buyers who do business with international suppliers can rely on the third party service provider to ensure that varying local government regulations are satisfied. 2008 will be a breakthrough year for e-invoicing. The business case is clear, technology options providing seamless integration with in-house are readily available and the e-invoicing adoption rate has been growing steeply and steadily.

Read the full article here

Survey shows that German users are not yet familiar with e-invoices

October 31, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

An Itella survey among German visitors of this year’s DMS (Digital Management Solutions Expo) proves that there is still much confusion on the subject of electronic invoices.
About 90% of the surveyed visitors in Cologne believed that violations of the German Signature Act have serious consequences such as fines, warnings or non-recognition of the invoice. On the other hand, only 19% knew that without Qualified Electronic Signature (QES), the tax is not claimed or a tax audit can be reclaimed. Moreover, nearly half of all respondents feels extremely badly informed regarding electronic invoices.
The aim of this survey was to gain background information about the low distribution of electronic invoices and QES in Germany which was the result of an earlier study by Itella. An electronic invoice -combined with QES for over 96% of DMS respondents- offers the ideal mix of safety, reliability and practicality. However, according to the original study only 30% of the companies use electronic forwarding methods. 50% of the surveyed visitors consider lack of confidence in safety and the lack of acceptance by the business as the main reasons for the low adoption level.
“Concerns about security are largely unjustified,” says Raimund Schlotmann, CEO of Itella Germany. “When it comes to security, the qualified electronic signature – especially for complete implementation by a service provider – is a fast, simple and reliable solution. We therefore even recommend to apply the QES in building consumer confidence. Neither senders nor receivers bear additional expenses if a service provider is on board. In comparison to the paper bill, the security even increases.”
Also, the potential savings in the editing workflow are not clear to most DMS visitors. Two-third of the respondents thought that an automated data input and output would save 10 to 50% in document processing. “These estimates are very conservative because the savings are often much higher: up to 90% is possible,” says Raimund Schlotmann. “Companies do not know how much time and money they spend unnecessarily.”

Study: electronic provision of certificates and attestations

October 30, 2008  |  Publications

Final Report and National Country Profiles

This is a preliminary study by Siemens ansd Time.lex on the electronic provision of certificates and attestations usually required in public procurement procedures.
Description (short summary):
The Preliminary Study on the electronic provision of certificates and attestations in public procurement procedures aims to examine how different European countries (EU, candidate countries and EEA) currently manage the use of certificates and attestations in procurement procedures, particularly in an eProcurement context.

The goal of the study is to identify if and how electronic certificates and attestations are currently issued, accepted and validated in public procurement procedures across these countries, and if and how their eProcurement systems could be modified or amended to support non-national electronic certificates and attestations, thus facilitating cross border economic activities in these countries and contributing to the creation of an internal market for electronic procurements.

As a part of this study, a series of scenarios were created that could be used to build interoperability between existing eAttestation systems, i.e. to ensure that electronic attestations from a tenderer established in one country could be presented to a contracting authority in a different country. These scenarios were then comparatively assessed in order to determine the most efficient or promising ones, and roadmaps were subsequently drafted to implement the most favoured interoperability scenarios. Finally, the study presents a number of recommendations for future actions to gradually improve the availability and usability of electronic attestations in public procurement procedures.

The Final Report of the study has been published in September 2008, together with a report on the electronic attestations and certificates used in 32 European countries (National Country Profiles).

Read the entire report by clicking this link:



Case: NemHandel – Open Infrastructure for Danish E-Business

October 16, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications

In 2007 the Danish National IT & Telecom Agency (NITA) launched a national open e-business framework ‘NemHandel’ (literally ‘EasyTrade’), based on a new national service-oriented infrastructure and utilizing state-of-the-art open standards to do e-business transactions business to government and business to business via the internet. The national open e-business framework supports reliable, secure and asynchronous exchange of business messages, e.g. invoices, across heterogeneous networks, including the internet.
Since 2005 suppliers to the Danish public sector have been required by law to send invoices electronically, which affects approximately 70% of all Danish businesses, and thus electronic invoicing in the public sector is a key driver for the initiative. However the ‘NemHandel’ initiative also aims more widely in a business-to-business context to replace less cost-effective solutions, such as the scanning-based digitalisation of paper invoices, as well as to pave the way for more comprehensive digitisation of a range of e-business processes to reduce administrative burdens in Danish businesses. Please see the Danish eInvoice Solution.
As part of the ‘NemHandel’ initiative, NITA has developed a basic open source ‘NemHandel’ application for the exchange of e-business documents, e.g. electronic invoices, via the internet. The open source application is freely available through the ‘Softwarebørsen’ open source software exchange to public sector institutions, private businesses, and to IT vendors who may incorporate the technology in their own commercial products. A number of commercial IT vendors have already and others are in the process of integrating the ‘NemHandel’ technology into their products so that documents may be exchanged directly between existing IT solutions. Likewise a range of existing commercial service providers, e.g. banks and operators of value added networks (VAN) and other proprietary solutions, are looking to connect their individual networks to the NemHandel infrastructure.

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