PEPPOL is a set of standards and specifications enabling cross-border eProcurement among the various European countries. The use of this network is governed by a multi-lateral agreement structure born during the development of the Pan-European Public Procurement Online project, which took place between May 2008 and August 2012. These requirements are currently owned and maintained by OpenPEPPOL; an international non-profit association which emerged in 2012 once the PEPPOL project concluded.
Doing business with the public administrations is a significant source of income for companies across Europe. In fact, public procurement represents approximately 20% of European Union GDP. However, in order for this procurement to be effective, the communication and exchange of information between companies and the government must be fast and cost-effective; as well as allowing the existence of a Digital Single Market, where all European companies can submit bids for public contracts, regardless of which country they belong to.
The development of the PEPPOL project was focused on these critical components of public procurement and, after analysing these, a set of technical requirements were established that can be implemented in eProcurement solutions and electronic document exchange solutions. These allow interoperability among the various systems that exist in Europe, increasing efficiency and decreasing costs.
Unlike the traditional EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) environment, where each provider needs an individually negotiated contract to provide a service for each customer, the PEPPOL network means having a single point of entry for the whole world, through which they can send documents to their final recipient.
Every month, millions of transactions are processed by this network, in a context of business to government (B2G) as well as business to business (B2B) and even government to citizen (G2C). Among the documents that can be interchanged through the PEPPOL network are: electronic orders (e-Orders), electronic shipping notes (e-Advance Shipping Notes), electronic invoices (eInvoices), electronic catalogues (eCatalogues) and electronic receiving vouchers (Message Level Responses).
For this, PEPPOL is based on three pillars:
- The network (PEPPOL eDelivery Network).
- The document specifications (PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specifications ‘BIS’).
- The legal framework that defines the network governance (PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements – TIA).
Today, the PEPPOL network for the interchange of eInvoices has 162 certified access points (APs) in 20 different European countries, as well as in the United States and Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Among these is the SERES one. It has 15 authorities that promote the development of the common standard (PEPPOL Authorities - Pas) spread across the world, and over 150,000 public and private entities receive invoices through its 450 members in more than 30 different countries.