The Pan-European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL) electronic trade standard enables government organizations and private companies to exchange electronic trading documents over its network. While PEPPOL started in the European Union to establish standards for electronic public procurement, it’s now being adopted across the globe. Singapore PEPPOL will launch an event, which confirm Singapore as the 1st nation exterior of Europe to embrace PEPPOL. Along with the declaration from the Singapore IMDA, who will play the part of Singapore’s PEPPOL Authority.

But how to select the correct provider to help you? I have here a list of things you might need to consider when deciding to whom you should entrust your PEPPOL’s future.

PEPPOL Provider – Evaluation Criteria

1) PEPPOL Credentials

First, get clarity on the level of experience you’ll be able call upon in the event that is required.

2) ERP Integration, Web Interface, or “within a Tool”

The biggest cost factor for setting up PEPPOL is your starting point. Usually, you will either have a stand-alone web interface to PEPPOL, or you will have PEPPOL incorporated into your ERP, or you will have access to PEPPOL through some other eBusiness device.

  • ERP

Complete incorporation into your ERP would be a choice to set up. However, it is the only viable choice for companies with high monthly order volumes + invoices. Such a system allows for the continuous receipt and confirmation of Purchase Orders in your ERP, the automatic implementation of order fulfillment, the generation of Advanced Delivery Alerts, and completion of Invoices.

  • Web Portal

A PEPPOL web interface solution is useful for small volumes of PEPPOL transactions. The balance that needs to be struck with such an alternative is the lack of integration with your company systems. Duplicate effort is made to retype or copy / paste PO and invoice data from one program to another, with increased scope for manual error.

  •  “Within an eBusiness Tool”

Many organizations would already use at least one and maybe more emerging eBusiness resources to deal with a variety of legacy trading partners. Any of these existing tools will now be plugged into a PEPPOL link, enabling users to submit + receive PEPPOL documents as well.

Perhaps these methods came from the desire of a larger trading partner to simplify their trade. In the sense of what I have just mentioned above, but also needs to be manually transferred to and from your business systems.

3) “Virtual” PEPPOL Access Point Providers

If you choose a virtual provider, as in the example above, you will know if the service is provided by your PEPPOL provider. At the end of the day, the safety and reliability of your future NHS trade will be in the hands of the PEPPOL provider that carries your traffic, so it is important to know who that is what their qualifications are.

4) Infrastructure

You should ensure that your PEPPOL provider operates a highly accessible infrastructure with certified security, backup and redundancy protocols.

PEPPOL is a remote application platform with value-added services. Using similar collection characteristics to those of a cloud service provider.

5) Support

I stated above to find out about the overall level of technical competence of PEPPOL within your chosen service provider. The specific technicians who have set up the solution and, in the event of problems, fix them in a timely manner. This may seem to have a lower immediate priority for companies accessing PEPPOL through the Web or other resources, but it means life and death for a company that wants orders in and invoices out in the shortest possible time.

6) OpenPEPPOL and / or eSens Participation

Beyond the day-to-day handling of PEPPOL transactions by your company, you can also inquire about their level of active involvement in OpenPEPPOL and eSens. These projects involve a substantial expenditure in time and resources and suggest a deeper level of commitment to PEPPOL.

7) What ELSE can your potential PEPPOL partner do for you?

Your PEPPOL provider should be treating your electronic business as a long term joint project. If your partner is not strongly encouraging you to move away from historical complexity and towards standardisation, then you should be asking yourself “Why not?”

I hope this guide helps you to make the right decision. You need to select the areas where your company can find the most value-added and long-term savings and choose as your provider whose skills and strengths best suit your needs.