What about your legacy e-invoicing footprint?

What about your legacy e-invoicing footprint

If you’re like many businesses today, you probably find yourself using five to ten different channels to exchange documents with your corporate clients and their service providers. You maintain multiple set-ups with bespoke formats and bilateral exchanges. Not to mention the rigid third-party portals, requiring time-consuming manual input. We call this old-school interop(erability) exchanges, a historically grown from a fragmented marketplace.

If you’re already supporting the European Norm on e-invoicing for both your B2G and B2B transactions, you still need a solution that helps you upgrade the specific requirements of your legacy agreements.

What if GENA (previously EESPA), the association of service providers that is at the heart of the interop flows, came to the rescue, and decided the obvious: promote the European Norm EN-16931, and a secured e-Delivery network for interop exchanges?

This article focuses on an alternative for your legacy exchanges with demanding business partners. A future-proof standard to manage all your digital business interactions: Interop 2.0.

Let’s dig into some background first.

Why we do not like old-school interop

There are many flaws in this bilateral way of working:

  • You are the sponsor of your partner’s digital journey, at the expense of your own efficiency.
  • You are tied to service providers and processes that do not match your requirements.
  • As solutions are bespoke, there’s no guaranteed payback in case your partner stops doing business with you.
  • No economies of scale: set-up is point-to-point, repeating onboarding costs for each partner relation.

The more interops you support, the worse it gets, since every extra channel results in lower volumes per channel and higher total maintenance costs.

Digital Europe and GENA: Building blocks and a business network together define Interop 2.0

For its Digital Single Market strategy, Europe funded a set of generic and reusable Digital Building Blocks. They facilitate the delivery of digital services across borders and sectors.

  • The e-Delivery building block provides a secure messaging infrastructure, using a four-corner exchange model where a business is free to select a service provider regardless of the service provider his partner has selected.
  • Definition of the European Norm EN-16931 core invoice standard.

GENA (the Global E-Invoicing Network Association) was established in 2011 to increase cooperation between independent fintech companies that provide network, business outsourcing, financial, technology, and EDI services.

GENA is using a multilateral interop network based on the Digital Building Blocks, replacing a multitude of bilateral connections.

As invoice document standard, GENA has defined an Extension to the EN-16931 core definition to add flexibility and wider support for many kinds of business transactions.

Additionally, application responses guarantee delivery confirmation but also allow for business status feedback.

A multilateral network using an agreed-upon document standard and delivery status feedback… That’s what we call Interop 2.0.

Why should you migrate your interop flows to the GENA standards?

  • The GENA interop network acts as a one-size-fits-all solution, replacing multiple bilateral connections.
  • You select your preferred service provider as GENA interop partner, independently from your business partners.
  • As the solution is standardized, your maintenance cost is spread across all partner interactions, and hence reduced to a minimum for each connection (economies of scale).
  • The lead time to add a new connection is much shorter, the exchange quality much higher.
  • Re-use ensures a guaranteed return on investment because you don’t depend on one single partner doing business with you.

In short: instead of sponsoring the digitization projects of your business partners, you will have the opportunity to focus on your own digital strategy and presence.

How to upgrade to Interop 2.0 with Axway eInvoicing

AdValvas, now a part of Axway, has been involved in GENA since the beginning and was invited to chair the GENA Interoperability Working Group (IWG). We’re the lead architect of the GENA interop solution, a multilateral network for interop exchanges.

We have always focused on building bridges between businesses rather than developing a private network. Our strategy is to promote Interop 2.0: multilateral exchange replacing old-school point-to-point exchanges. And if modern, open standard exchange is no option, we still offer support for old-school, legacy interops.

  • Axway eInvoicing is a certified Peppol access point that enables fast implementation of mandated B2G e-Invoicing, widely adopted in the B2B context as well.
  • Axway eInvoicing has been certified as an e-Delivery-conformant solution.
  • Axway eInvoicing breathes the European Norm, so to speak, and has heavily invested in the design and promotion of the GENA extension.

Axway eInvoicing enables companies to comply with an evolving list of B2B and B2G invoicing requirements around the world. Fully integrated with existing e-invoicing regulations, this cloud-based solution allows for continuous compliance and the agility to meet diverse and evolving national and legal requirements, now and in the future.

And by adding it to the Axway B2B Integration Platform, you’ll be able to engage with partners securely, streamline EDI and API flows, and leverage value-added services beyond e-invoicing such as PEPPOL, API management, and API-driven VAN.

We look forward to talking to you and finding out together what Interop 2.0 could mean for your business.

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Key Takeaways

  • Transition from fragmented, old-school interop exchanges to Interop 2.0, a future-proof standard for efficient digital business interactions.
  • Embrace GENA's multilateral network based on the European Norm EN-16931 core invoice standard. Replace multiple bilateral connections with a standardized, cost-effective solution.
  • With Interop 2.0, choose your preferred service provider independently, reduce maintenance costs, and enjoy shorter lead times for new connections.
  • Axway eInvoicing allows you to concentrate on your own digital presence without the hassle of supporting outdated systems.