ABSIA Member, Rick Harvey from Layer Security, recently represented ABSIA at OpenPEPPOL's General Assembly (GA) and community meetings in Brussels on 24-25 March 2019. Rick joined approximately 150 OpenPEPPOL members from across Europe as well as the new entrants of Singapore, United State, New Zealand and Australia.
Presenting to the ABSIA Board at our recent meeting, Rick spoke about his experience at the GA.
What are your thoughts on OpenPEPPOL (the organisation)?
OpenPEPPOL is impressive in its experience, scale and commitment. Their initiative is cross-country, cross-domain and covers a full spectrum of activities including technical standards, management structures, legal documents, working groups, test systems and more. OpenPEPPOL has come a long way since it began in 2012, which is evident in the maturity in their standards, governance and collaboration frameworks.
Was it a good decision for Australia to join OpenPEPPOL?
Yes, as the timing seems to be perfect. Adoption is taking off in Europe, pushed along by the mandate that all EU countries must be able to receive and process PEPPOL invoices. OpenPEPPOL is keen to be international and so Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have been warmly welcomed. OpenPEPPOL are also keen to get our experience in AS4 (from SuperStream, SBR2 and STP) as they are mainly AS2 and the EU has mandated for PEPPOL to go AS4 by 2020.
What are the major benefits of adopting PEPPOL?
OpenPEPPOL opens up international opportunities to Australian businesses. We also get to leverage the wealth of European experience, expertise, processes and infrastructure (standards, testing, legal agreements etc.) not only in e-Invoicing, but in the whole procure-to-pay cycle including e-Ordering, e-Tendering, e-Catalogues etc.
What are some other technical aspects that you found interesting?
As a technologist, I could really appreciate the enormity of the problems that OpenPEPPOL have overcome, such as evolving standards, global scaling, comprehensive test systems, interoperability agreements and accommodating peculiar regional and jurisdictional requirements. However, there is still a lot of ongoing work in various technical groups. The ones that I'm involved in are related to protocols (e.g. AS2 to AS4 migration) and security (e.g. end-to-end encryption).
What are the next steps for PEPPOL in Australia?
The Australian and New Zealand governments are in the process of creating a PEPPOL country authority and working with OpenPEPPOL to create an international e-Invoice format which still allows for our own country specific business rules. At an Australian industry level, OpenPEPPOL are also keen to get our input in various working groups, which is good as we will get to have a say in the PEPPOL standards moving forward. More generally, as Australia adopts PEPPOL, I think that e-Invoicing will quickly expand to other procure-to-pay processes. There is also the potential for the PEPPOL infrastructure to become a foundational digital business infrastructure, from which many new innovative businesses and technologies may emerge from.
Read more about ABSIA's experience with PEPPOL here.