ISA² - Interoperability solutions for public administrations, businesses and citizens

Simplifying e-procurement and e-invoicing adoption

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2016.05 European public procurement interoperability initiative

When is this action of interest to you? 
  • You run a business that participates in public call for tenders.
  • You are a public buyer in charge of public procurement.
  • You are a public administrator in charge of issuing evidences needed in public procurement.
  • You are a service provider in charge of the aggregation of evidence data needed in public procurement.

What is this action about?

In the domain of public procurement communication requires extensive paperwork from both buyers and suppliers. The administrative burden is even greater when businesses participate in cross-border calls for tender. This is because national procurement systems and registers are not always sufficiently integrated and usually do not share and reuse data. To address this, the European Commission has put in place several initiatives to simplify procurement procedures. ISA² currently supports e-Prior, e-Certis and the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) to facilitate participation in online public procurement and the adoption of electronic invoices regardless of country or sector. ISA² is also funding via this action the creation of an e-procurement ontology and the publication of public procurement code lists on the metadata registry to facilitate the reuse of the vast amount of data available from different sources.

This ISA² action will help update and improve existing EU tools for e-procurement. It will develop a common public procurement knowledge base to facilitate the creation, exchange, dissemination and reuse of procurement data. This action is closely related to the e-procurement activities under the Connecting European Facility (CEF), a financial instrument that helps public and private entities make their solutions interoperable.

What are the objectives?

The main objective is to ensure the interoperability of e-procurement solutions and to enable the implementation of e-procurement across the EU through:

  • Contributing to the definition of interoperability standards and developing public procurement vocabularies and code lists
  • Providing a set of reusable open source solutions and services for e-procurement
  • Reducing the administrative burden and simplifying procedures for buyers and suppliers to encourage cross-border public procurement
  • Creating an ontology to illustrate the data relations within public procurement
  • Ensuring access to and reuse of public procurement data
  • Supporting interoperability initiatives such as OpenPeppol 

What are the benefits?

For businesses

  • Simplification of administrative procedures and reduced paperwork in public procurement
  • Application of the once-only principle, enabling public buyers to directly access supplier evidences from the relevant registers
  • Simplification of cross-border business
  • Increased transparency thanks to simplified access to procurement data and its reuse

For EU Member States and public buyers

  • Contribution to the Digital Single Market in Europeprocu
  • Enhanced interoperability of data, optimal reuse of data and increased data quality
  • More efficient public procurement procedures
  • Reduced investment in public procurement

What has been achieved?
Main achievements of sub-action GROW.G4:

  • eCertis is being updated by Member States on a regular basis. It currently has more than 2170 records on issuers, criteria and evidence.
  • The open source code of the European Commission ESPD service, is used in the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal.
  • Due to the workshops and the CEF funding, there will be around 40 ESPD services available in most EU countries that have implemented the ESPD data model developed under the ISA² programme.
  • Some countries have connected national databases to their ESPD service to provide a better service to their buyers and suppliers. 

Main achievements of sub-action OP.C3

  • The ontology has so far been mainly developed in the area of eNotification and eAccess which provides a broad base for its further development in the area of pre-award and post-award. The work has evolved in this area to provide synergies with the eForms consultation of DG GROW and to ensure a solid foundation on which the other phases can be developed. 
  • Naming conventions have been developed for the production of code lists that have been published on the EU Vocabularies website.
  • A proof of concept has also been developed in the area of eNotification which will be used as a basis for creating the rest of the ontology.

What are the next steps? 
Next steps for sub-action GROW.G4:
The workshops will continue as they have proven to be an important tool to help Member States to digitize and design their procurement procedures. GROW will continue to work with the EU project TOOP to see how the public procurement building blocks can provide benefit to this network and with the action owner of the interoperability testbed (2016.25) as it is an important tool to make sure that ESPD services are conformant to the data model. GROW will hand-over the governance of the ESPD data model to the Publications Office (OP) as they provide the governance for the notification forms for the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) as well.

Next steps for sub-action OP.C3:
The work will continue building on the input of continual working group calls and meetings the work group. The governance and maintenance plan of the ontology will be developed along with the implementation guidelines (in a first instance covering eNotification). The glossary of terms, the conceptual models and the OWL file will be further developed to cover the other phases of public procurement lifecycle and code lists will be created as necessary.

Next steps for sub-action GROW.G4, OP.C3 and DIGIT.D2:
An EXEP subgroup, lead by DIGIT.D2 will gather requirements from relevant stakeholders in terms of analytical needs. The analysis will cover different aspects starting form strategic objectives and policies to be supported. Existing initiatives will also be taken into account, such as the dashboard made available in the opentender portal , identifying the available information and potential gaps. 

OP.C3 will map notices to the eProcurement ontology and will export the data as linked data.

The CEF BDTI team will provide an infrastructure, to allow to store the data from OP and attach a basic analytical tool to it.

These parallel threads will share results on a regular basis. The outcome of this phase will be:

  • a prioritized list of requirements for the public procurement analytics service, identifying the eProcurement ontology elements supporting those requirements, or the missing ones as the gap.
  • a data of linked data based on the eProcurement Ontology provided.
  • an infrastructure that has the data together with basic open source online monitoring tools.