Electronic Invoicing

Ready for the new year, Patrick Harbin has published and amazing 50 ways to reduce costs in accounts payable.  They say about new year’s resolutions that you should ensure they are achievable so for those that think 50 major change management  programs in one year - that’s 1 per week – is a little too much, you might want to consider the first 5 because we think the first 5 are the best 5.

We started the new year with a conversation with Christian Lanng, CEO of Tradeshift who explained his grievances with OB10. They are numerous but they all boil down to one thing – interoperability. The arguments can become complex but at a simplistic level, there are e-invoicing vendors that embrace and encourage interoperability and openness between networks claiming it is best for customers and there are those that prefer not to having invested substantial sums on the infrastructure of their own networks. As an objective observer, what do we think? Which side of the interoperability fence would Purchasing Insight sit on? Actually, neither, because there isn’t a fence.

Tradeshift appear to have a love/hate relationship with OB10 – although I think they may be in denial about the love part. And this is why I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I spoke to Christian Lanng, CEO of Tradeshift about his views on OB10. I expected Christian to be forthright and he didn’t disappoint so I’m pleased to present the conversation as it happened. There’s a bit of journalistic license in what follows but in essence this is our conversation. I make no judgment on Christian’s views. Some of it I agree with some I don’t but I’ll leave my detailed comments to a separate article.

A few weeks ago in a blog post, I teased Christian Lanng, CEO of e-invoicing firm Tradeshift. “I get the feeling that Christian doesn’t like OB10”, I wrote. “Is it just me?” Tradeshift and OB10 are competitors so I would expect they would have different views but I get the feeling that Christian’s feelings about one of his competitors is a little more than professional. So when he offered to explain his views to me, I was more than interested.

Can I just make something very clear. I really liked the article by Laurence Buchanan on the Cap Gemini blog, Digital Transformations “What comes next after Facebook and Twitter”. I thought it was inspired and intelligent. I liked it a lot. That is until I read this sentence:  “How can we build stronger customer relationships based on true value co-creation ..”. Yet again, I thought, a fine piece of well articulated thought leadership drifts into pretentious clap-trap of self evident truisms using made-up words. Then I read this sentence: “How can we cut through vast quantities of unstructured customer data with accuracy and drive insight into action faster than the competition?”. Laurence Buchanan’s article had, for me, bounced right back. Suddenly, all is forgiven.

This is the third in the series The World Map of e-invoicing focusing on Latin America. Latin America is rapidly setting the pace for e-invoicing. Although the level of adoption is behind many other countries, the rate of increase in adoption is extremely rapid and mainly as a result of government sponsorship. Governments are supporting the growth of electronic invoicing by mandating its use and  removing the standards discussion by dictating the form of invoice and the associated digital signatures.

World map of e-invoicing Latin America

This is the second in a series examining the global landscape for e-invoicing. The first, an overview can be found here. Of all the economic regions in the world, electronic invoicing is most well established within Europe and North America. This is hardly surprising. As economies, they are amongst the biggest and most technologically mature. They have much in common culturally, politically and in terms of they way they do business but despite the many similarities there are some very distinct differences that makes the implementation of e-invoicing in each region very different.