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Is It Canada's Turn to Implement an e-invoicing Infrastructure?

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Is It Canada's Turn to Implement an e-invoicing Infrastructure?

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Over 190 countries are now using the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) for e-invoicing. Denmark was the first country to legislate it's use in 2005 for invoicing the Danish govt. Subsequently the EU, Latin America and many other countries followed this initiative. Canada has been somewhat slow on any activity involving the implementation of this Global Open standard.

This presentation has been given at PDW 2013, and the Ottawa PC Users Group.

The http://goUBL.com business ecosystem has been established to promote the use of the OASIS UBL in North America.


Over 190 countries are now using the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) for e-invoicing. Denmark was the first country to legislate it's use in 2005 for invoicing the Danish govt. Subsequently the EU, Latin America and many other countries followed this initiative. Canada has been somewhat slow on any activity involving the implementation of this Global Open standard.

This presentation has been given at PDW 2013, and the Ottawa PC Users Group.

The http://goUBL.com business ecosystem has been established to promote the use of the OASIS UBL in North America.


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Is It Canada's Turn to Implement an e-invoicing Infrastructure?

  1. 1. 1PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Is it Canada's Turn to Implement an e-invoicing Infrastructure? W. Hugh Chatfield President – CyberSpace Industries 2000 Inc.
  2. 2. 2PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Deconstructing the Question ● Infrastructure? ● e-Invoicing? ● Canada's turn? ● Is it ever too late?
  3. 3. 4PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Canadian Infrastructure 1885
  4. 4. 5PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language The Telegraph
  5. 5. 6PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language A Telegraph Message Sender Transmitter Receiver Receiver Message On Paper Message On Paper Morse Code - binary - electronic
  6. 6. 7PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Business MessagingToday PAPER Electronic No “Morse Code” Electronic
  7. 7. 8PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language The Problem Domain Exchange of common business documents Customer Supplier Curve from UBL and Disruptive Innovation https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/industry/library/ind-disrubl/ paper, FAX PDF's, EDI, other proprietary means
  8. 8. 9PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language E-invoicing?
  9. 9. 11PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language So What's the Problem? CUSTOMER SUPPLIERBusiness Documents Many to Many $10/invoice processing cost Innovation through Imagination! How might we get some disruptive innovation going to solve this problem? No perceived benefitsNo standard structure
  10. 10. 12PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language The “Morse Code” How to Express our Business Documents
  11. 11. 13PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language subset superset new Common Business Objects Cases to handle Business Documents Globally Common structures
  12. 12. 16PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language UBL 2.1 defines 65 Business Documents in Multiple Areas ● Catalogue, Quotation, Ordering, Fulfillment, Billing, Payment, Statement, Transport Services, Certificate of Origin ● eTendering, Vendor Managed Inventory, Intermodal Freight Management, Utility Billing, and Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment ● Document Status and Document Status Request
  13. 13. 18PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Why we need standards? ● EDI did not standardize the messages – wound up with over 5000 different e-invoice structures ● This required up to 50002 data converters in the pipe ● Standardizing on single structure reduces the conversion effort ● Standard message structure <=> your proprietary message structure
  14. 14. 19PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language The “Wire” How Do We Exchange Business Documents?
  15. 15. 20PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Has anyone built UBL-based infrastructure? ● National - Denmark (NEMHANDEL) ● Regional - EU (PEPPOL) ● Commercial – Tradeshift – Cloud Trade, Hubroker/Babelway – B2BRouter – MakeAEInvoice – Many more coming ● Private – used entirely within back-end systems interconnecting homogenous and heterogenous implementations with a common expression of business information
  16. 16. 23PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Why Might We Want To? ● Support for the “paperless office” (green technology) ● Provide an entry point into electronic commerce for small, medium-sized businesses and individuals ● Significant $ savings for large Customers ● Enable new ways of doing business for all ● Global open standards support trans- national document exchange
  17. 17. 24PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language How Do We Start? ● Adopt global open standards (e.g. UBL) ● Build or buy infrastructure ● UBL is usable off the shelf – but – Canada needs to create the Canadian customization of UBL that suits Canadian needs ● Canada needs to invest in putting more members on the standards committees ● Interfaces to existing infrastructures and other standards
  18. 18. 25PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Some Case Studies
  19. 19. 26PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language “Build” Case Study 1 - Denmark ● Denmark legislated use of UBL in 2005 ● Built Nemhandel infrastructure to allow B2G for all suppliers ● Payback in ~1.5 years Denmark reports €500M savings on 70M invoices (2005- 2010) http://bit.ly/VeAQcu ● Businesses started using infrastructure for B2B ● 90%-95% successful onboarding to date
  20. 20. 27PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language “Build” Case Study 2 - EU ● PEPPOL (started 2007) enables access to its standards-based IT transport infrastructure through access points, and provides services for eProcurement with standardised electronic document formats (based on UBL and CENBII) ● OpenPEPPOL - began official operations on September 1st, 2012 ● Seventeen partners within 11 countries:   Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the UK
  21. 21. 28PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language “Buy” Case Study 3 - Tradeshift Cloud based SaaS UBL Transactions Customer Customer Supplier Supplier APP Open API Mapping Intuit Cloud Scan Dynamic Invoicing ... Browser ●"Freemium business model" all basic e-invoicing, suppliers and customers, can be done for free; premium cost-based services offered to customers to improve their experience, satisfy legacy or regulatory requirements, and improve supplier on-boarding; cost-based services fund the free services Off Network Customer PDF
  22. 22. 29PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language “Buy” Case Study 4 – NHS/UK ● 42 employees manage 17 clients, processing 450,000 invoices per year from over 10,000 suppliers (mainly paper) ● Feasibility study chose “Buy” solution (Tradeshift) for it's move to e-invoicing ● Predict 20% efficiency savings after 2 years ● In first week, 9% of suppliers were onboard, 29% after 4 weeks (Rapid onboarding by Suppliers) ● UK predicts savings of ₤22-28B/yr implementing e-invoicing http://bit.ly/Zo2h6e
  23. 23. 30PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Is it Time? ● Yes – we need to at least start ● Infrastructure needed for carrying out business electronically in Canada ● Affordable for all ● Increased efficiencies ● Faster to market for new functionality ● Cost savings – $10/invoice in processing costs – Significant savings possible in better $ management
  24. 24. 31PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language If You Build it – Will They Come? ● Denmark now has 90-95% of all suppliers on board - B2G (legislated) and B2B(voluntary) ● Tradeshift now in use in over 190 countries – major large organizations now on board ● Intuit, Paypal, MITIE, Vestas Wind Systems, DSM, DHL GBS, Kuehne+Nagel, DSV, Nike, many more. ● The addition of Intuit's 5M+ customers makes Tradeshift the largest e-invoicing network on the planet
  25. 25. 32PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language Is it ever “too late”? ● Top down pressures - free trade agreements with Europe and other countries? – will Canadian companies be more competitive by being UBL enabled? Are we ready? ● Bottom up pressure from SMEs who adopt UBL based e-invoicing. (e.g. 5 million+ Intuit customers sending UBL e-invoices via Tradeshift) Are we ready?
  26. 26. 34PDW 2103 OASIS Universal Business Language The Vision ● National Railway ● Steam Engines riding coast to coast on rails of iron – a Nation builder for the Industrial Age ● National Electronic Business Infrastructure ● Information Engines riding coast to coast to coast on rails of light – a Nation builder for the Information Age ● Questions?

Editor's Notes

  • CyberSpace Industries 2000 Inc. XML Consulting/Training GoUBL a business ecosystem of collaborating organizations to promote the use of UBL in North America In the next 45 minutes we will try to develop an answer to the above question
  • Let us consider the following: What do we mean by infrastructure? What specifically is e-invoicing? Is an PDF sent by e-mail a useful electronic form? Where exactly is Canada in the implementation of e-invoicing? What does Canada need to do?
  • In the 21 st century – our electronic infrastructure is becoming critical
  • CPR founded in 1881 - Ceremonial completion in 1885 of the national railroad – Donald Smith driving in the silver spike Part of the agreement for British Columbia to enter confederation Steam trains carried people and goods across Canada Engines of steam, riding coast to coast on rails of iron – a nation builder for the industrial age
  • Original CPR charter provided for the right to create an electric telegraph service including charging for it Copper wire with telegraph sending/receiving device at each end. Telegraph rapidly became an important business tool
  • Message to be sent is - written on paper at sending end - sent in binary (dot/dash) electronically down the wire - translated back to message on paper at receiving end
  • Sender enters invoice data into their computerized system complying with their business model and business policies and practices Invoice is printed and send via mail Receiver receives invoice and re-enters the content back into their computerized system complying with their business model, policies and procedures ( rekey, scan/ocr ) Note that we got the process exactly backward from the telegraph model
  • Many “solutions” involve getting the other party to adopt your solution to your business problems (EDI). Note that the interface is many-to-many - hence lots of inertia to adopting change. Documents being exchanged are in many forms/structure. Note also (refer to curve) that the organizations that will benefit the most are those with many suppliers. Suppliers will not willingly incur more expense if there is payback only to the customer There is a requirement for an infrastructure for the exchange of these documents – concentrate on the pipe – not the systems in use at either end.
  • XML traces it&apos;s ancestry back to SGML - an ISO standard (ISO 8879 – Oct 1986) SGML and XML are recommendations for the construction of markup languages – not the specific markup for a particular problem domain. HTML is a SGML application; XHTML is HTML cast according to the XML recommendation – display content in a browser Pre-competitive consortia get together to standardize on a markup language for specific problem domains SVG – vector graphics Mathml – mathematics DITA – Darwin Information Typing Architecture – authoring/publishing UBL – Universal Business Language – exchange of common business documents
  • No standard structure for documents exchanged Business policies, procedures, work flow, different at end points Customer processing of supplier invoice into their electronic form costs ~ $10/invoice Suppliers expected to implement solutions that only benefit Customer Other than email/fax no infrastructure available to exchange documents for SMEs (EDI too expensive for SMEs) Inter-country exchange complicates the problem (language, legal, infrastructure incompatibilities, etc.) Major challenges Technical changes to existing systems Process changes to current workflows Suppliers will not pay to send invoices
  • Can we reduce the number of different invoice structures? Can a single structure meet every organizational need globally? Can we express these structures based on open standards? Has any work been accomplished to meet these goals?
  • Start with a base of common business objects Construct definitions of business documents based on common business objects Allow users to only use a subset of any particular document Allow users to add additional information to any common definition Allow users to create new documents from the base of common objects.
  • UBL 2.1 specifies 65 document types OASIS UBL is an internationally-standardized specification for a suite of common business documents (invoices, purchase orders, waybills, etc.) and a concrete XML syntax (using XSD ( XML Schema Definition ) or RNC ( Relax NG Compact Syntax) ) for expressing those documents in a machine-readable format. It is flexible enough to include your own business objects and XML syntax as extensions. It is structured in such a way that you can make your own business documents utilizing a common library of business objects. OASIS UBL is not owned by any application vendor, it is owned by the not-for-profit consortium Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards and developed by the Universal Business Language Technical Committee. OASIS UBL can be downloaded for free and without encumbrances and without having to register in advance or even notify OASIS of its use. It can be used by commercial products. It can be used by private projects, internal or public. The two normative parts of UBL are the semantic definitions of the components and the W3C Schema expressions. Just because UBL and an infrastructure exists – it does not mean automatic adoption by the participants. Education is critical
  • There can be multiple business documents for a single area.
  • We need to get e-invoicing services to the 80% of organizations (typically SME&apos;s or individuals) that don&apos;t currently have the capability for e-invoicing
  • Even in the telegraph age, in order to reduce the manpower required to send a message, they developed “code books” where a single numeric value would be equivalent to a long text string Companies competed with their own code books, trying to make their code book more valuable than their competitors Eventually a single numeric code could be any of “n” text strings – not decipherable without knowledge of which code book was used to send the message.
  • Denmark legislated the use of UBL, implemented the infrastructure to submit B2G EU adopted this direction for B2G across national borders for organizations in the EU Once infrastructure is in place, B2B e-invoicing was adopted Adoption of UBL is extremely slow in North America Tradeshift – founded by some of the builders of the Danish and EU infrastructures
  • - roll out of UBL to the masses is underway - Canada may be blindsided – after trade agreements with EU, we may be required to submit invoices electronically in UBL – are we ready? - Large companies may encounter pressure from smaller companies to move to UBL invoicing - Tradeshift business model is free e-invoicing - revenue comes from add-on services to large organizations.
  • We could only find a small handful of UBL-based projects in North America (mainly transportation based trials) The roll-out of the Quickbooks/Tradeshift functionality in Canada (currently rolling out in the IK)
  • CENBII Workshop - In Europe, the European Commission had to invest in specifying what was needed and then find the syntax standards to fit. They also invested in putting members on the standards committees The CENBII specification is a meant to facilitate effective public procurement solution with focus on cross-border interoperability and closing the gap between systems built on UN/CEFACT and OASIS/UBL 2.0; they can be used to create interoperability between users of the two standards
  • enables European businesses to easily deal electronically with any European public sector buyers in their procurement processes, thereby increasing opportunities for greater competition for government contracts and providing better value for tax payers’ money began official operations on September 1st, 2012 PEPPOL enables access to its standards-based IT transport infrastructure through access points, and provides services for eProcurement with standardised electronic document formats (based on UBL and CEN/BII)
  • The individuals who worked on Nemhandel and later the PEPPOL infrastructures spun off company (Tradeshift) to create an off-the-shelf commercial version of the infrastructure Tradeshift is 3 rd generation software Implemented as a Cloud based SaaS, integrating social networking tools in a business environment (Supplier/Customer can converse around a single invoice document – resolve issues quickly – real time updates when customers accept, approve and pay invoice) Intuit provides interface to Tradeshift Cloud scan moves scanning/OCR/error correction back to the supplier Dynamic Invoicing provides $ to customer via discounts and immediate cash flow to suppliers
  • Need to provide affordable functionality to SMEs , aboriginal communities, large corporations, governments at all levels Dynamic discounting results in increased revenues for customer and better cash flow for SMEs Can move the process of capturing and quality control from Customer to Supplier where It belongs
  • Two examples where we can get concrete numbers
  • - UBL is now in use in over 190 countries – but virtually no adoption in North America – we have no metrics for a UBL project in North America. - we need a case study for the Canadian environment to develop metrics (costs, savings, barriers, etc)
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