Read here Celtrino’s Managing Director Ken Halpin discussing his views on the PEPPOL pilot project that Celtrino are running with the HSE. This public procurement project is being run in conjunction with the European Commission using the PEPPOL (Pan European Public Procurement Online) initiative which looks to streamline processes in the public sector through e-Invoicing to facilitate greater cross border commerce among EU member states. Minister for State for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes knows that there are huge efficiency savings to be made by adopting e-Invoicing as a standard across the public sector.
Tomorrow Minister Brian Hayes will make a keynote address on Ireland’s future approach to e-Procurement and e-Invoicing in Ireland. This follows the recent successful completion of a multi-stakeholder pilot e-Invoicing (PEPPOL) project. The Irish public sector is fast playing catch-up with much of the rest of Europe who have already made binding policy decisions in these areas in advance of EU wide changes that are coming down the track.
The European Commission estimates that the transition to e-Procurement and e-Invoicing within the EU by the start of 2015 will result in public sector savings of €100 billion (that’s a saving of about €1 billion annually for Ireland). In addition, to realising savings in the cost of goods and services purchased, the Irish Government will reduce payroll costs through productivity gains.
On 17th November the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published the Public Sector Reform plan and a number of its recommendations made headline news: the reduction in headcount and the end of decentralisation.
However, the report contains more far reaching objectives which the reporting media simply did not and do not understand.
In effect, the public sector in Ireland is set to change the way it processes its day-to-day business activities. This change is transformative, it will impact the entire island and profoundly change the way all businesses process business transactions.
This reform plan signifies major change even if you do not deal directly with the public sector. As has been demonstrated in other countries that have embarked on such projects, the change sweeps across the both the private and public sectors. It is irrevocable and to be absolutely clear, it is hugely positive.
The proposed change will give you reason to question:
1. How will my supply chain be affected and what do I need to do to prepare?
2. Is my ERP or back office system(s) fit for purpose?
3. What does e-Invoicing entail?
The appropriately titles white paper ‘Ireland is About to Become a Whole Lot Smarter’ presents a detailed overview of the opportunity at hand for both the private and public sectors in Ireland.
The economic circumstances have to a large extent forced the governments hand on this reform and we must take this opportunity as the benefits are significant and far reaching. Our Nordic neighbours are well down the e-Business journey and derive significant cost savings, and now have a solid e-Business infrastructure that is a competitive trading advantage.
No journey of this nature is exempt from challenges and obstacles.
So, download a copy of the white paper and please remember, here at Celtrino our door is always open and we are more than willing to help you plan to take advantage of this opportunity.
Today more than ever, organisations are looking for more efficient ways of doing business. Use this new Celtrino white paper to understand how your organisation should prepare to take advantage of the proposals contained within the recently published Public Sector Reform plan.
The proposed changes will give you reason to question:
- How will my supply chain be affected?
- Is my ERP or back office system(s) fit for purpose?
- What does e-Invoicing entail?
There may be pockets of expertise in your company that has the knowledge to answer these questions but in our experience it’s more likely that it doesn’t. We are pleased to offer this white paper to provide perspective on Celtrino’s leadership position within the supply chain management industry.
Download your copy of the white paper ‘Ireland is About to Become a Whole Lot Smarter’ by clicking here.
The potential problem of electronic invoicing is perhaps best exemplified by Brazil, reputed to have the strictest e-invoicing regulations in the world. The Brazilian government has the final say on any purchase and delivery – if the paperwork is not in place, no project goes ahead.
Implemented at the beginning of this year, the Nota Fiscal Electronica (NF-e) regulations require electronic bills of lading to be received and approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Finance before goods can be moved, let alone delivered. As soon as approval is granted, an NF-e file is sent to the manufacturer by return. The final recipient of the shipment also receives an email copy of the file.
A printed copy of the NF-e file must also be sent along with the shipment so that Police and customs officials can scan the associated barcode. The government can verify the paperwork associated with a shipment at any point between despatch and final delivery using the electronic audit trail. Delivery vehicles can even be stopped by Police en route, and then scanned using mobile devices. Non-compliance is quickly identifiable and consequently ill-advised.
Although this system provides a number of efficiencies for the Brazilian government, it also causes headaches for businesses looking to trade in Brazil but who do not have a suitable method of interfacing with the NF-e compliant system. Small businesses particularly are believed to struggle in this way.
It is however becoming clear to businesses based in South America that the optimal way to interact with the complex NF-e system is to outsource the lion’s share of the data processing and interfacing to a third party. Using a cloud based electronic invoice presentation and payment (EIPP) gateway such as Celtrino’s Smart Admin system, businesses need only worry about manufacture and delivery of goods; a proper EIPP service will ensure full compliance with the local e-invoicing legislation, regardless of how complex the rules may be.
As with many other European governments, the Scottish Government has decided to replace its current electronic procurement platform with a hosted service. The Government have signed a four year contract worth £18.5 million to provide online purchasing services named eProcurement Scotland Service.
Alex Neil, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment said, “The award of this contract builds upon Scotland’s successes in the deployment and management of public sector e-procurement technologies.”
The eProcurement Scotland platform will be run across datacentres spread across a number of different locations with centralised management from the Government’s datacentre in Edinburgh. Support services for users will come from an external company based in Aberdeen whilst integration and transition services will be provided from a Glasgow office.
The contract is expected to provide both cost savings and environmental benefits. The eProcurement Scotland project will see 73 servers reduced to just 19 through the use of an outsourced virtual hosting environment. This reduction of physical hardware will result in lowered management costs, 75% less electrical power draw and a smaller carbon footprint. The Scottish Government calculate the carbon savings of the move will be equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road each year. The system will be better for users as well as the environment.
The new eProcurement Scotland platform replaces the existing system which was set up in 2002 and currently processes orders in excess of £8 billion per year. There are more than 50,000 registered public sector users, capturing nearly 33% of the Scottish public sector spend.
The eProcurement Scotland platform is intended to be a flagship development of the Holyrood Administration. In Alex Neill’s words:”It [eProcurement Scotland] also showcases Scotland’s supplier capability to host and manage what is regarded as one of the leading government ecommerce services.”
hilst in London recently speaking at a developer conference, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff took the opportunity to deliver a stinging criticism of the UK government’s cloud computing implementation record to date. Under the title of the “G-Cloud”, the British government has been attempting to reduce the number of datacentres currently used across local and national agencies.
Benioff was clear that he believes the UK is behind the US in terms of government cloud adoption and as a result was missing out on the potential for significant “cost reduction”. Worse still, in Benioff’s opinion, UK government datacentres are running well below maximum efficiency. “That’s not ok,” he said, “It’s costing them a fortune.”
However Benioff’s comments are not merely the rantings of a service provider with a vested interest. Statistics available on the European Commission’s website further reinforce the view that the UK government’s tardiness in joined up IT systems is a costly mistake, also resulting in a loss of competitive advantage over other EU neighbour states.
The apparent lack of government desire to implement electronic supply chains and the like also has a knock on effect for national businesses. The Digital Agenda for Europe collates data regarding the use of EDI systems for inter-business trading, the results of which make quite shocking reading. It is only in the previous calendar year that the UK has finally begun to implement Electronic Supply Chain Management in anger, finally moving from the bottom of the table where the country had languished since records began two years earlier. Shockingly, the UK is still far, far behind other countries including Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania and Cyprus.
Unfortunately these statistics are replicated across a number of other data sets relating to electronic invoicing and the automatic exchange of business documents. As before the UK lags behind almost all of their European neighbours in these key indicators, suggesting that UK businesses are missing out on the efficiencies and costs savings available.
Benioff and the Digital Agenda for Europe statistics are unable to explain why uptake of these cost-saving systems are so low in the UK and why businesses keep choosing to miss the opportunity afforded them. Whether it is a misconception as to the complexity of implementation of EDI, a poor understanding of the benefits or just a general ennui, the fact remains that British businesses are losing out to themselves and to their neighbours.
Benioff’s suggested solution, to move systems into the cloud, makes perfect sense. Businesses choosing to implement a hosted Electronic Invoicing Presentment and Payment (EIPP) system, an electronic supply chain management strategy or automated document exchange mechanism such as Celtrino’s Smart Admin will see immediate benefits. It is through such adoptions that UK businesses have the opportunity to guide the government to the cloud and not vice versa.
Businesses dealing with the US Treasury Department will need to begin integrating electronic invoicing into their accounting systems or face the prospect of losing their supplier status. Announced as part of President Obama’s “Campaign to Cut Waste”, e-Invoicing will be enforceable by fiscal year 2013.
The Treasury Department is expected to have their e-invoicing system in place by the start of the 2012 financial year to give suppliers 12 months to get their affairs in order and to test whether the new system works. It is hoped that implementation of electronic invoicing methods wills reduce current processing costs by half, saving $7 million a year.
A US-based provider of electronic invoicing services carried out a report to identify how well-used the technology was and found that at least one-third of respondents did not use it at all. From these results it is suggested that as much as 33% of US businesses still use manual, paper-based invoicing as their primary method of billing. The survey did however show a marked increase in e-invoicing as in 2010 58% of respondents were still relying on manual invoice processing.
The upcoming change in invoicing at the Treasury Department was not the main reason for businesses adopting the methodology however. 72% of respondents said that they used Electronic Invoice Presentation and Payment (EIPP) to increase operational efficiency, thereby reducing their business running costs. 55.7% also stated that e-invoicing allowed them to optimise their cash flow.
Respondents also reported that manual invoice processing wasted company time when entering and scanning invoices, approving payments and tracking down lost paper work. The introduction of EIPP helped eliminate all of these resource drains, reducing delays and removing the chances of human error creeping into the system.
As yet, details of the Treasury Department’s e-Invoicing system are still unclear and industry experts are warning of potential problems for companies looking to implement their own systems. However by using a hosted system, such as Celtrino’s Smart Admin, businesses can transfer the responsibility for initial investment and interoperability development to the service provider, allowing them to focus on their core business and fulfilling Government orders.
Here is a press release from last year that still rings true today… what are Ireland and the rest of Europe waiting for? Denmark is leading the way!