Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Electronic Invoicing and ERP Processes, Part 3

This article is Part 3 in a series on Electronic Invoicing and ERP Processes and focuses on the challenges that third party, ERP agnostic, electronic invoicing service providers face delivering global solutions.

First let's recognize that there are at least two different kinds of electronic invoicing service providers:
  1. Independent, third party, ERP agnostic, e-invoicing service provider.
  2. Electronic invoicing service providers tightly integrated with one ERP solution and vendor.
Service providers like OB10 promote their any-to-any data formatting and e-invoicing expertise.  They are a third party service provider unaffiliated with an ERP solution.  In contrast, an e-invoicing service provider like SAP's co-owned Crossgate is dedicated solely to supporting the global e-invoicing needs of SAP.

As discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series the biggest challenges with supporting global e-invoicing requirements are often in the ERP processes themselves, and because of that fact, the closer and more tightly an e-invoicing service provider is aligned with the ERP vendor the better.  Service providers like Crossgate that are co-owned and deeply integrated with the ERP vendor (SAP in this case) find it much easier to coordinate changes to the ERP that are required to support global e-invoicing requirements.  Service providers like OB10, which are unaffiliated with an ERP, must simply wait for the dozens of ERPs used by their customers to figure out how to be compliant.  They have much less influence and control over when and how the ERP vendor supports a country's mandates and requirements.

For SAP users engaged in electronic invoicing, EDI and other B2B message exchanges, it is worth a long and hard look at what SAP is doing with Crossgate and the increasing value that the SAP/Crossgate services are offering SAP users. As the SAP/Crossgate business ready network swells with more and more SAP users, the value increases exponentially for the SAP community.

See related articles:
Author: Kevin Benedict
Principal Consultant/Founder Netcentric Strategies LLC
SAP EDI Consultant, Mobile Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Consultant
***Full Disclosure: I am an independent consultant that has worked with and for many of the companies mentioned.

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