Study: electronic provision of certificates and attestations

October 30, 2008  |  Publications  |  Comments Off

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  |  Comments Off

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.

Read more on epractice

EC workshop eProcurement solutions in Vienna

September 27, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications  |  Comments Off

The IDABC programme ( is supporting the design and development of eProcurement solutions compliant with the public procurement Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC, by providing tools (mainly, the eProcurement demonstrators, the helpdesk service and the Functional Requirements) that can be used as examples and guidelines.  The eProcurement Forum, a community within the ePractice portal, is organizing in cooperation with Auftrag.AT a workshop to exchange experiences about the development of Public eProcurement solutions aligned with the European legislation. The workshop will take place on the 14th January 2009 at the Schönbrunn Palace Conference Centre in Wien (Austria).
The participants will have the opportunity to have an insight into the IDABC eProcurement demonstrators and to be presented with some eProcurement cases developed using the IDABC tools as sources of inspirations.  This workshop targets all the European eProcurement experts and in particular those belonging to:

  • Public Administrations that are setting up new eProcurement solutions and are interested in capitalising on other experiences and in receiving information on available guidelines and tools
  • IT companies in charge of the development of eProcurement solutions
  • Organisations responsible for existing eProcurement solutions that need to be aligned with the European legislation

A “Call for presentations” is open until the 5th December 2008. Please contact the eProcurement Forum by e-mail  ([email protected]) if you need further information on the event, or if you are interested in sharing your experience and in presenting a case.

Registration is possible via the ePractice website at  Please note that attendance is free and open to everyone who has been registered on the ePractice portal. Since the available places are limited, interested experts are invited to register soon. 

Subscribe to the EEI Platform newsletter

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

…and ensure yourself of the latest developments on e-invoicing and complementary domains, such as credit management and payments. Read More

4th eBIF Conference ‘e-Business interoperability practice’ in Utrecht (NL)

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications  |  Comments Off

e-Business interoperability practice: examples, impacts and standardization challenges’ 

Day 1 - 8 December 2008
Programme starts 10.00

Opening by Peter Potgieser, ABN AMRO, Chairman CEN/ISSS e-Business Interoperability Forum and Equens speaker

Keynote: ICT standardization and eBusiness policy developments
Costas Andropoulos, Head of Unit, European Commission, Enterprise and Industry Directorate General

Practical examples papiNet implementation and deployment practice
Tom Meniga, Managing Director, Freecom

eBIZ-TIC project – eBusiness standards pilots in the textile and footwear industry
Piero De Sabbata or Milena Stefanova, ENEA eTrade UN/CEFACT speaker Interoperability between eInvoicing systems Anachron speaker Questions and answers

RFID and the Internet of things
Speaker from the European Commission, Information Society and Media Directorate General (tbc)

Beyond SOA: interoperability challenges in the Digital Ecosystem era
Pierfranco Ferronato, Chief Architect, Soluta.Net

ICT implications for energy consumption and growth
Reinhard Madlener, E.ON Energy Research Centre (tbc)


Day 2 – Tuesday 9 December 2008 
Programme starts 09.30

Critical issues - Title to be confirmed
Paul van Exel, USPI (tbc)

Education in e-business standards and standardization policy
Speaker to be confirmed

Methodologies for Global eBusiness test beds
Speaker tbc 
For more information, visit the website of CEN


Joint initiative to create a European e-invoicing solution

September 18, 2008  |  Adoption, Electronic Invoicing, Publications  |  Comments Off

Today, at SIBOS, ICBPI Group (Italy), Isabel (Belgium) and Equens (the Netherlands) announced that they will be joining forces in e-invoicing. The main goal of the founding partners - ICBPI and Equens - for this international initiative is to establish an open, multi-party, cross-border European e-invoicing network. The network must gain practical experience and actively contribute to the development of a standardised European e-invoicing product with maximum customer reach. For this purpose, ICBPI and Equens will set up one of the first cross-border pilots for e-invoicing networks within Europe. Service provider Isabel will be the first participant in this pilot.

European e-invoicing solution
ICBPI Group and Equens will cooperate to bridge local solutions, enabling banks, corporates and service providers to extend their reach in Europe. Equens will bridge domestic service providers in order to create European coverage in the distribution of e-invoicing. Isabel will contribute its e-invoicing knowledge and experience. Other parties are invited to join this initiative in order to expand the e-invoicing community as soon as possible.

The European Commission aims to establish a mature e-invoicing framework by 2010 at the latest. E-invoicing is a field that potentially offers excellent opportunities. Over 90 percent of all invoicing worldwide is still performed on paper. This usually involves an extremely inefficient process of printing, distributing, scanning and archiving paper and re-entering data. There are now hundreds of initiatives in place for electronic invoicing on a national level. A specific, joint and international initiative is therefore an important next step.

According to Equens, invoicing should be as easy as paying. Michael Steinbach, Chairman of Equens’ Board of Directors: “We strongly believe that staying ahead in the European payment-processing market requires looking beyond the payments discipline as such. It requires in-depth knowledge of the future needs of banks and their customers, of technology and of applications.”

“As a market leader in payments and electronic invoicing services in Italy, we are focused on providing the best services in the Customer-to-Bank area,” says Giuseppe Capponcelli, Managing Director of ICBPI Group. “This cross-border joint initiative on e-invoicing will allow us to be a first mover in the European scenario and to enhance our corporate banking services. The first International e-invoicing pilot is a win-win initiative that allows the founding partners to extend their reachability to other important trade markets, as well as enabling ICBPI to offer competitive advantages to banks and more benefits to their corporate customers.”

As one of the leading providers of e-invoicing and electronic banking services in Belgium, Isabel is the first participant in this European e-invoicing initiative. Isabel will draw on its technical and business expertise in the SME market to contribute to the success of this e-invoicing pilot project. “This pilot project is a great opportunity to enhance our experience in electronic invoicing and to promote interoperability at European level,” says Luc Van Hecke, International Sales Manager of Isabel S.A.

About Equens
Equens SE is the first truly pan-European, full-service payment processor. As one of the largest and most innovative payment processors in Europe, Equens is leading the market for future-proof payments and card processing solutions. Thanks to an extensive and competitive service portfolio and a flexible, customer-orientated approach, the company seamlessly meets the requirements of the European payments market. With an annual volume of 7.3 billion payments and 2.1 billion POS and ATM transactions, Equens has a market share of more than 15% within the euro zone. By continuously pursuing further growth and translating the achieved synergy benefits and economies of scale into advantages for the customer, the company contributes to the efficiency of European payments.

For additional information, please visit

The ICBPI Group is made up of highly specialised companies focusing on the design, planning and management of services for banks, financial institutions and insurance companies. ICBPI S.p.A. is specialised in traditional and innovative payment services, as well as financial and administrative services offered according to a BPO model. ICBPI also offers innovative and efficient solutions for the outsourced management of domestic and international payment systems (SEPA-compliant) for banks, Public Administrations and other companies. Key Client is focused on electronic payment systems (Cards, POS and ATM) and with HelpPhone on customer care services through a contact center. Oasi is a market leader in services such as managed systems, financial transaction tracking, reporting to the Central Bank, anti-money laundering and regulation compliance, retirement insurance fund management and data security.

For additional information, please visit

About Isabel
Isabel is a professional software developer and service provider specialising in bank automation and electronic invoicing. Isabel’s solutions are used by many financial institutions and associations all over Europe. 30 banks and 110,000 companies in Belgium are using Isabel online services. The Zoomit application developed by Isabel is integrated with the Internet banking solutions of the most important banks. It enables millions of consumers and SMEs to take advantage of e-invoicing technology. Isabel was founded in 1995 and has 130 employees.

For more information, please visit

Blogpost: Keep it simple stupid - useful rule for all of us.

September 17, 2008  |  Publications  |  Comments Off

Published by/at:

© Networked Economy - Bo Harald / Wed, 17 Sep 2008 09:12:00 GMT

Nobody seems to be of the opinion that paper invoices have any future worth mentioning. In yesterday’s SIBOS session here in Vienna there was an even surprisingly overwhelming yes-vote for banks to include e-invoicing into their services. So the mindset is there. And when organisations like SWIFT mobilize resources a high quality standardization work will start to produce also longer term benefits.


There is still a lot of players who keep stressing how difficult and exceedingly complex it all is. Is it? Yes - it can be if you look at it only from the procurement value chain angle and still today variancies in VAT-rules. No - if you look at it from the payment initiation angle and nationally. And this is what the EU work is focusing on - to give the SMEs in EU a 0-investment and 0-itskill tool for sending invoices with sufficient data fields to satisfy also large organisation receiving them. One tool that works in all directions - just like payments. And by accepting the authenticity and auditability that the payment industry is delivering the VAT-issues are solved in practise.

It is of course a habit of vendors to stress the complexity - it can be good for sales figures. But in this case I believe that is outrightly counterproductive for all as it confuses the market and scares away both enterprises and new services providers - thus the network effect.

E-invoicing does not have to be complex - we know it from our experience. So now it is up to the banking communities to sit down and agree on the very simple approach - form the network, include also non-banks, take a suitable version of ready financial invoice standards in use right away and include it just-like-payments in ordinary e-banking.

Keep it simple stupid - useful rule for all of us.

02-12-2008: CBI/ABI event - Forum on e-Invoicing in Rome

September 16, 2008  |  Adoption, Events, Publications  |  1 Comment

On December 2nd and 3rd 2008, a forum is dedicated to amongst others international developments on electronic invoices, the analysis of international scenarios and the in-depth examination of business and technical aspects of the new advanced services dedicated to banks and enterprises. The event will take place in Rome.

This is the agenda of the event.

If you are interested in visiting this event, you can view the registration form here.



Weblog: Postal Operators And E-billing

September 16, 2008  |  Electronic Invoicing, Publications  |  Comments Off

E-invoicing as well as E-mail, has had an enormous impact on European postal operators in more recent years with operators becoming even more reliant on the delivery of advertising to help fund the cost of the Universal Service and the trend in stamped mail volume is still downward as more businesses persuade customers to change over to internet billing.

However, according to a recent survey conducted in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany during the spring of 2008, Finland has yet to make any headway with regard to switching to the e-invoicing of consumers, even though it is already one of the international leaders in business-to-business e-invoicing.

According to an extensive Itella Information survey, Denmark presently holds the lead in both consumer and business e-invoicing. Consumer interviews were used to investigate over 3,300 people’s experiences of e-invoicing. More than 1,600 people were interviewed with regard to business-to-business invoicing.

According to Finland’s postal operator Itella, Finnish people seem to think that being able to pay their bills through their online bank is quite enough. The majority of consumers still receive hard copies of their invoices, while too few people even contemplate receiving e-invoicing.

According to the survey, consumers in the Nordic countries and Germany receive roughly the same number of invoices - around 7 to 8 per person monthly. Hard copy is still the most common invoice format, with the exception of Denmark. In all of the countries, however, hard copies’ share of all invoices has decreased since 2006.

The Finns and Danes exhibit contrasting conduct with regard to payment, too. In Finland, online banking is commonly used for payments, while few invoices are received there. Danes commonly receive reminders of their due invoices through an online bank, but favour direct debiting.

The Danish infrastructure makes the switch-over to e-invoices easy for consumers. Direct debiting, common in Denmark, also supports a switch-over to e-invoicing. These factors at least partly explain why Denmark is ahead of us. We have similar experiences in Norway and Estonia, says Savolainen.

In Finland, almost 80 per cent of large companies plan on sending the majority of their invoices in electronic format within 2 to 3 years. Among SMEs, Finnish ones are the most eager to make the switch to e-invoicing. Some 78 per cent of Finnish SMEs believe that they will be solely or partially using e-invoicing within the following 2 to 3 years.

According to the survey, almost all businesses and organisations intend to make the switch to e-invoicing in the forthcoming years. The only exception is Germany, in which only 65 per cent are considering this. The underlying reason for Finnish businesses’ enthusiasm for e-invoicing is the desire to achieve time and cost savings through this invoicing method.

Published by: Mark White - © - Postal Industry News

Compliance complexity inhibits implementing e-invoicing

September 15, 2008  |  Adoption, Publications  |  Comments Off

Complexity of compliance is inhibiting almost half of European businesses from implementing e-Invoicing

At SIBOS, Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, today unveiled research revealing that European businesses are struggling to fully exploit the benefits of electronic invoicing and are held back by a fear of complexity in addressing regulatory compliance requirements and legislation.

At a time when achieving cost efficiencies and effective resource utilization is crucial to maintaining competitive differentiation, the move from paper-based to electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) comes as a key opportunity for businesses today. In spite of this, the research found that 40 percent of European companies are yet to make a decision to implement an automated e-invoicing solution.

The survey, conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne across 400 IT managers in the UK, France, Germany and Italy, found that the most pressing e-invoicing concern for European businesses is compliance with national e-invoicing legislation. In addition, with 72 percent of European companies currently conducting business in more than six countries around the world, more than half admitted they were concerned about supporting disparate e-invoicing solutions across multiple geographies. A quarter of responses also negatively highlighted the complexities associated with implementing multiple solutions to handle value added tax (VAT) compliance and audit requirements across the countries in which they operate. 

“Knowing that more than half of the correspondents are doing business in the U.S. as well, the results are staggering that more than half of European businesses are struggling to effectively conduct business across global barriers,” said Chris Johnson, vice president, global management and marketing, B2B Integration for Sterling Commerce.  “The benefits of moving from paper-based to e-invoicing are widely known and accepted, yet the reality for many businesses is that even for e-invoicing projects that do receive budget approval, a dependence on multiple solutions to handle compliance with multiple VAT and tax regulations across different territories, is ultimately undermining project success.”

The research also discovered that 80 percent of respondents believed that their finance department could not quantify the amount of VAT at risk if the company was found to be non-compliant.

“One of the problems with any paper-based process is that it is often hard to track the costs and inefficiencies involved – the inefficient nature of the manual process itself prevents easy quantification of the potential savings,” continued Johnson. “If just from a commercial and competitive perspective, companies must move away from these highly inefficient processes. The costs and issues associated with paper-based invoicing, coupled with the associated lack of visibility into a company’s cash management do impact the bottom line, a risk that should be avoided particularly at a time when cost saving and effective resource utilization are so important.”

Sterling Commerce recently launched the first solution to market that enables multi-national organizations to automate electronic invoicing processes worldwide, while maintaining conformity with the tax regulations mandated by each of the particular regions. Sterling e-Invoice Gateway eliminates the need to support separate solutions for each geography; reduces risk and exposure by enabling compliance with ever-changing electronic invoicing tax regulations; and improves operational efficiencies and contains costs by automating both buyer and seller electronic invoice processes in accordance with country-specific tax regulations.

Sterling Commerce is exhibiting Sterling e-Invoice Gateway and its broad portfolio of Financial Services solutions at stand C617, hall C at SIBOS 2008, from Sept. 15-19, in Vienna. To find out more about Sterling Commerce activities, visit

About Sterling Commerce
Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) company, helps customers thrive in a global economy by connecting their business communities, processes, people, and technology.  More than 30,000 customers worldwide – including 82 percent of the Fortune 500 – use Sterling Commerce solutions for business process integration, multi-channel selling, and supply chain fulfillment to improve profitability inside and outside their company walls.  Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Sterling Commerce has offices in 19 countries and most major cities around the world. More information on the company can be found at

Published by: Sterling Commerce