With ever more complex systems, the need for these systems to work together through interoperability is clear. But what exactly is interoperability and why is it important to take into consideration when choosing an e-invoicing service provider? Read on as Pagero’s Hanna Sterner explains.

Operation without interruption

To enjoy the benefits of e-invoicing, interoperability is essential. But what do we mean when we talk about interoperability, exactly? Telecommunications is an example of an industry that had to embrace interoperability, and it benefitted us all. Consider using your phone, do you question if you’ll reach the person at the other end of the line? Whichever operator you use, you make the natural assumption that you will be able to speak to each other.

It was not always quite so simple. In the past, operators tried to restrict customers to their services. They charged them for calling outside of their network. Soon it became clear that for the industry to move into the future, each network needed to communicate with each other seamlessly, or the industry would fall apart. They created an interoperable network.

“Telecommunications is an example of an industry that had to embrace interoperability, and it benefitted us all”

In our industry, interoperability is a young idea. However, we are quickly approaching the same tipping point as the telecommunications sector did. We need to be able to work together in a fluid manner with the fewest possible obstacles, to do this we need to break down barriers.

Open or closed that is the question…

Just as we are seeing in so many other areas, there’s a debate about open and closed or proprietary systems when it comes to e-invoicing.

Closed networks, often representing countries, regions or industries, represent isolated communities. Each community, in turn, has their own separate systems and standards. These isolated communities make it complex and difficult for trading parties to connect.

An open system gives businesses a network that extends beyond your service provider and your network, giving you maximum reach to as many business partners as possible.

A truly open network is also designed to integrate seamlessly with new technologies and solutions as they emerge. This brings value to businesses, as they then have the full freedom of choice for their own operations, without the burden of needing to consider what systems or processes their business partners are using.

Working together for common standards

Organisations such as EESPA (the European E-Invoicing Service Providers Association, OpenPEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line), TIEKE (the Finnish Information Society Development Centre) and NEA (the Electronic Business Network), all work to help standardise and smooth the e-invoicing process between businesses, institutions and across borders.

“Ultimately, modern, outward-looking, open networks are preferable overall”

Pagero works with each forum and organisation to gain both a broader understanding of the market but also to make it easier for our customer to connect with their business partners. Further, through our involvement, we manage to stay informed of the latest trends as well as bring our long and successful experience in working towards global reach to the wider community.

Pagero believes in an open network

At Pagero we have been committed to interoperability from the start, and we are keen to help our customers streamline their flow of business documents. Pagero has agreements with a large number of other operators, and our network is constantly growing. Our goal is to make it possible for our customers to reach as many other companies as possible in both the private and public sectors, worldwide.

As we all move towards a more open business community, why choose closed networks? Pagero has always believed in openness and it is what we invest in.

Hanna Sterner
Hanna Sterner is the Interoperability Manager at Pagero. Her area of responsibility includes maintaining, developing and extending our network of roaming partners in all geographies where Pagero is present. hanna.sterner@pagero.com