Five key points for selecting a PEPPOL access point provider

July 8, 2016  |  Digitalisation, Europe, Procurement

If you are a medical or in-vitro device supplier, to be compliant with the UK Department of Health’s e-procurement strategy, you will need to have made a commitment to PEPPOL by September 2016.

Looking at the current situation, it would appear that some suppliers are ready, but many are not. Some are GS1 compliant but haven’t joined PEPPOL, while others have signed up to PEPPOL access points but have not taken the additional necessary steps.

With the UK Department of Health exerting greater pressure, finding an access point provider must be taken seriously. Whether you are a supplier or a NHS trust, in order to establish a connection to the PEPPOL network, you will need to choose a PEPPOL access point provider. Before you commit, there are a number of considerations in relation to finding the best provider:

  1. Among the numerous access point providers, only some are true EDI (electronic data interchange) companies. These providers will see PEPPOL as part of their core competence, and, therefore, have tried and tested methods that will make your e-procurement journey a lot easier.
  1. It is important to find an access point provider that has been involved in PEPPOL from the outset, as they will have a deep understanding of what is involved. You can find a list of the providers involved in the DH demonstration of technology here.
  1. Seek out a dedicated, scaleable and system-agnostic access point that will work with your organisation regardless of your choice of accounting or e-procurement systems.
  1. If a PEPPOL access point goes offline or fails, then no traffic can be sent or received. This is clearly something you will want to avoid, so it is vital to the check the access point provider’s reputation and reliability. Consider the provider’s background – how long as the company been in business? What is their disaster recover set up like? Perhaps most importantly, what levels of customer service are provided?
  1. A good access point provider should be able get you established as PEPPOL-compliant for a low-cost sign-up fee. Check that they also provide all connectivity validation, data transformation maps and go-live support. Given that forecasting documents volumes is tricky at best until you go live, a good provider will offer usage-based payment plans for document exchange, dependent on the volume of documents exchanged. Check whether there is an option for billing annually or in advance and if you can you do this by Direct Debit or other preferred options.

Following these steps will not only help you gain PEPPOL compliance, but will ensure that you have a good relationship with your PEPPOL access point provider.

For further information, contact: [email protected].

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