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CEN BII3 meeting in Stockholm

During the first week of December 2014, the BII eProcurement community joined in the city of Stockholm.

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On the 1st of December, the UBL Technical Committee joined for a face to face meeting. On the 2nd, there was the UBL International Conference during the morning and the CEN BII conference on the afternoon.

Due to a flight cancellation, I missed these two conferences but I was able to join the CEN BII sessions from Wednesday to Friday.

Despite the cold weather in winter, Stockholm offers warm and friendly receptions and dinners. I enjoyed a lot these four days up there, and want to thank Martin for his hospitality and Tim for the special dinners in his weird apartment.

Open Plenary

The open plenary started at 9 a.m. on the 3rd of December. The host was SKL (Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions), again in their nice building in Hornsgatan, with excellent views over the city.

Kerstin Wiss Holmdahl welcomed the participants on behalf of SFTI and she explained the planned social event: A traditional Swedish Julbord dinner with salmon and herring.

Stuart Feder, the CEN BII chairman started the meeting and he explained the success of the capacity building session the day before, with more than 70 registered attendees.

After a roll call, Jaap van der Marel, the workshop secretary from NEN, reviewed the agenda of the previous face to face meeting and it was approved by the attendees.

The pending action items were reviewed:

  • The link to Joinup and how to manage it are still work in progress. The goal is to use Joinup to host the CEN BII deliverables
  • The liaison to CEN PC434 has been established, and Georg Birgisson, from Midran, is the appointed liaison
  • Regarding the exploration of possibilities for the future on BII, there has been word done and will be reported in the closing plenary.

CEF e-Invoicing

After this introduction, there was a presentation from Thomas Small from the EC on the CEF e-Invoicing.

CEF Program is large programe divided into several units. There is a budget of 970 million € for Digital Service Infrastructures (DSI).

The main objective is the deployment of interoperable EU-wide IT systems. Therefore, the main focus is to work on interoperability, ensuring solutions in EU can interoperate. There are 5 core services at this moment: eID, eSignature, eDelivery, eInvoicing and automatic translation

For the eDelivery DSI, the goal is to achieve convergence to foster global adoption. Regarding the eInvoicing DSI, there is a need to identify best practices and work on standardization to end up with global adoption. This is what is actually happening with the eInvoice, where the initiatives in CEN BII and CEN MUG plus the EMSFEI recommendations have been the input for the Directive 2014/55 and the CEN PC434 to end up with global adoption of electronic invoicing in Europe

The goal of CEF is to make sure that all Member States have access to this new standard and it is adopted. The reception of electronic Invoices will become mandatory in all public procurement in Europe.

There are two type of services:

  • Horizontal activities for all DSI.
    Works on projects, architecture, governance and monitoring. They are establishing a stakeholder management office working on communication and a support office to provide training and documentation.
  • Vertical activities specific per DSI.
    For eInvoicing, provide support on the definition of the standard through participation in PC434 and CEN BII3, provide tools, expertise and guidance to Member States rising their awareness.

The main message is that the EC must make sure that everyone is prepared latest 2019, and through the CEF programe, the EC has to provide any assistance possible.

Italian deployment of electronic invoice

Antonia Caressa from Consip explained the Italian experience on e-Invoicing.

e-Invoicing is already mandatory since June 6th 2014 for ministries, tax agencies and social security. In March 2015 all the central and local administrations will have to receive electronic invoices. The law does not apply to non-resident suppliers.

The scenario in Italy is 60 milion invoices exchanged for approximatelly 130 bilion €. The estimated savings per year are 2 bilion €. The architecture created in Italy is a central exchange system that routes the invoices from providers to public authorities. The technical specs are available at www.fatturapa.gov.it and the format is the national standard, FatturaPA. Italy requires the use of qualified e-signature and their exchange system allows multiple channels of communication.

European Directive states the obligation to pay suppliers within 30 days, and in order to calculate the medium payment terms, there are a notifications sent back to providers. Greater savings with automation of the entire process are envisaged.

Regarding interoperability, the system sets multiple channels of communication to accept invoices, but there are a set of office codes indexing the italian public administrations that have to be included in the electronic invoices for routing purposes.

The italian invoice data model FatturaPA has been made by themselves. It is an XML Format defined using an XML Schema and 90% of the fields can be mapped to the CEN BII Invoice data model

From June to November there have been 1.400.000 invoices received, and 15% have been rejected.

Case in Emilia-Romagna

Elisa Bertocchi from InterCenter.ER made a presentation from the Emilia-Romagna region. They have built a Central purchasing system called SICIPaER. It is an infrastructure to send and receive electronic documents, and they have implemented a PEPPOL Access Point called NoTIER.

PEPPOL is used in the health sector to exchange electronic invoices. They use the PEPPOL format for invoices, CEN BII using the UBL Syntax, and they are currently expanding the project to support orders and despatch advices.

They are providing translation services from PEPPOL to FatturaPA. The vision is to connect providers and public authorities with orders and despatch advices using the PEPPOL Access Point.

Their goal is to have Regional Public Authorities use just a single semantic and syntactic format (UBL following the PEPPOL Specifications), and NoTIER manages the conversion between PEPPOL BIS and Fattura PA. NoTIER ensures Semantic and Syntactic Interoperability

With the presentation from Elisa, the Open Plenary was concluded. Jostein Fromyr told the group to split into working teams for the rest of the day. On the 4th there were also parallel working sessions. The Closing Plenary was done in the afternoon.

Closing Plenary

Jostein Fromyr, vice-chair of the CEN BII thanked Kerstin and SFTI for hosting the meeting and for the Julbord social event. The Team leaders started with the reporting on the work done during the parallel sessions.

Natalie Muric presented the eNotification report. She said the “search profile” took very long discussions but the team finalized it so it is going to be sent for public review. She also announced the split of the notices in three profiles, one for the Prior Information Notice, another for the Contract Notice and the final one for the Contract Award Notice.

Kornelis Drijfhout presented the report for the tendering team. He explained there was a discussion on the ESPD (European Single Procurement Document), the conclusion from the team is that this new document from the EC can be covered with the current profiles: for the Call for tenders, a new transaction will be created. Adding the ESPD will be finalized by the Istanbul face to face meeting. He reported that some profiles have been finalized and are now published for public review. After that, he explained the difficulties of the group regarding the Tender Status review and the Tender Light profile. He mentioned that XVergabe has been very present in this CEN BII face to face meeting. He explained that the main issue is that in the eSENS pilot a message syntax has to be used, and as there are no standard syntax available, the pilot intended to use the XVergabe syntax. Another possibility was to use the UBL syntax, but it seems not all transactions have a document type defined in UBL.

A concern was raised stating that the Workshop seems to be working to fit a specific syntax like Xvergabe. Kornelis said that XVergabe is just a new community bringing new requirements on the table and he told that nothing is decided yet regarding the syntax that will be used in the eSENS pilot.

Veit Jahns reported about the three main deliverables for the eCatalogue team. The Guideline Document on the Usage of Classification systems is finished and ready for public review. Pre-award catalogue profiles and the guideline will be ready for public review in Istanbul.

Martin Forsberg reported on the post-award team and he explained they started working on the Receipt Advice and they did some comment resolution for the Master Data Alignment. They had a long discussion on the integration with accounting. They also had some discussions on VAT related issues on invoices. Finally they discussed the simplified invoices, prepayment and payment initiaiton.

Jostein Fromyr announced that the architecture team will be meeting on Friday 5th. He explained the work items that have to be reviewed and agreed and told that some of them should be delivered for public review

Carmen Ciciriello reported on the seminar and on the draft for the faqs and the brochure on how to implement BII. She explained that they would like to have quarterly net-meetings with service providers and ERP vendors to provide information on pre-award BII profiles.

Decision on Syntax Binding Policy

The Syntax Binding Policy was discussed in Essen based on a request from GS1.

The process was agreed and the comments were received and processed by the Management Team. Based on these comments, some changes were implemented in the policy document. It was decided to add a Gap Report as part of the syntax binding specification with the explanation of the consequences of these gaps.

A revised proposal was distributed in November 27 in order to take a decision in Stockholm. Jostein highlighted an important change: the qualification of “open standard” as a requisite for being a candidate for syntax binding.

There was a discussion on the qualification of GS1 as an open standard. The final decision was postponed as not all member were on disposition to vote on the Syntax Binding policy due to late reception of the proposal.

Regarding the Business Plan, the extension was already agreed in Essen, some new deliverables were added and other deliverables were withdrawn.

Future of the BII

Jostein Fromyr led a discussion on the future of CEN BII and he depicted several possible alternatives:

  • Continue a CEN WS
  • Establish a CEN TC or PC
  • Combine 1 and 2
  • Extend the scope of an existing PC/TC

He then setup a set of criteria in order to be able to evaluate which option would be better:

  • User participation
  • Status of deliverables
  • Organization of the work
  • Maintenance
  • Practical impact
  • Political impact

He was explaining pros and cons for all these criteria.

Jostein then explained that an initiative from Denmark, Netherlands and Norway has been submitted to create a new CEN TC. He explained that the scope of this new CEN TC is to develop standards to support the electronic public procurement processes and their underlying accompanying information flows in the physical and financial supply chain.

He said that this proposal for a CEN TC has to be voted in CEN on February 10th and that currently is under discussion.

Review and update of the meeting calendar

Next meeting will be held in Istanbul on February 18th to 19th. The architecture team will meet on 17th and the seminar will be the 20th.

Any other business

Tim McGrath provided an update on UBL and its future.

He explained the ISO/IEC DIS 19845 – Information technology – Universal Busienss Language Version 2.1 (UBL v2.1) already exists. A ballot approved it on September 2014. It may require a final ballot before publication, but it will be announced by 2015.

Tim explained that there is a governance cycle where standardization communities submit new document types and extensions into a registry, OASIS UBL TC must approve and publish new document types and the incorporation into the ISO Standard follows a specific process. This process will be defined and documented by the UBL TC during the next weeks.

Closing the meeting

Stuart Feder thanked all for the good contributions and hoped to see everybody in Istanbul

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