Doing business with the public administrations is an important source of revenues for companies all over Europe, in particular for the SMEs. Public procurement accounts for roughly 18% of the EU's GDP. To make it effective, the communication flow needs to be quick and cheap; to make it competitive, in the spirit of the Digital Single Market, all companies with the requisites across the Union should be able to tender for a contract.
The PEPPOL project, one of the "large scale pilots", focused on critical e-Procurement components to enable businesses to communicate electronically with any European government institution in the procurement process, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs. The project developed solutions for e-signatures, e-ordering, e-cataloguing and e-invoicing throughout the contract cycle.
To ensure long-term sustainability of PEPPOL results, a number of project partners set up OpenPEPPOL AISBL. This non-profit association currently affiliates 130 members, from 18 European countries, Canada and USA, from both public and private sector. OpenPEPPOL is the reference point for European governments and their suppliers for eProcurement, by using the PEPPOL specifications and promoting best practices.
The use of PEPPOL-based solutions is steadily increasing. Just to give a few examples:
- in Austria over 5.000 public entities are now able to receive eInvoices through the PEPPOL network;
- in Norway only in 2015 so far 38.000 public and private sector recipients registered and there have been 6.9 million transactions using PEPPOL solutions;
- the eProcurement strategy of the National Health Service (NHS) in England mandates PEPPOL use for e-ordering, e-invoicing and e-advanced shipping notes. As part of the PEPPOL implementation, NHS is about to become a PEPPOL Authority.
- in Belgium, the Federal Public Service for Information and Communication Technology - FEDICT, has become a PEPPOL Authority.
The member base and spread outside Europe indicates a global potential among both multinational/global companies as well as local start-ups. So far two Norwegian SME/start-up companies basing their service offerings to a large extent on PEPPOL results have been bought by European and US based multinational companies.