TC440 second meeting in Vienna

On the 16th and 17th of February, the second meeting for the CEN Technical Committee 440 on electronic procurement took place in Vienna.

The TC chairman is Jostein Fromyr from Norway and the secretariat is now led by Hans Henrik Koster from Danish Standards.

I was appointed as the CEN BII liaison in the Kick Off meeting in Copenhagen. The CEN BII is over, or will be over on March 9th with its closing conference, and one of the main reasons for that is the creation of the CEN TC 440. Now the electronic procurement in Europe goes more formal, and the deliverables from CEN could become European Norms, so their “sanction” (as Tim McGrath uses to say) will be stronger than the CWA we were used to see as the deliverables from CEN BII.


During the Opening Plenary meeting on the 16th, we saw good presentations from Vassilios Peristeras (ISA Programme) and Raúl Abril (DG DIGIT) on the Core Vocabularies and the EIRA architecture respectively. It is good to see all these initiatives converging and helping each other to achieve a common goal. All these efforts are not competing but being used to enlarge the community committed to a Single European Digital Market. Their common goal is to ease the on-boarding for companies and SMEs, lowering the entry barriers by standards on which companies can provide easy to use and potentially cheap solutions.

During the working sessions, I was explaining the CEN BII profiles and syntax bindings to the pre-award team . They constitute the starting point for the TC 440 work and I think this is also good news. TC 440 is not starting from scratch but using the CEN BII profiles and its syntax bindings as the stepping stone to create a normative set of specifications for electronic procurement.

On the Closing plenary I was supposed to provide a liaison report on behalf of the CEN BII but I was not able to do so because of my flight schedule. However, I prepared a power point that you can find here:

Let me tell you what I wanted to explain:

  1. The first slide on the timeline explains that we have been working almost 10 years on the CEN BII deliverables. They are not a small piece of work but a lot of man/hours defining and discussing the different aspects of the electronic business, creating new methodologies, validation techniques, mappings to syntaxes, guidelines of all kind and I think that the end result is a high-quality, pragmatic and legal approach that helps in the implementation and deployment of electronic business systems. You can easily start from there to dive into the electronic business either being a public administration, a national project or a private entity. It has already been done in some national initiatives and it has proven its value as they suddenly become interoperable with really no additional effort.

    The other important thing I wanted to highlight with this initial slide was mentioning the visionary who started CEN BII back in 2007: Peter Borresen was working in the Danish Government at that time, I think the name of the agency was NITA, and he deserves the credits of being the one that started this project and got everyone aligned in order to move this forward.

  2. The second slide just deals with the scope of the CEN BII work. It covers both phases of the public procurement, from the electronic notification down to the payment. The initial scope for the project was electronic public procurement, but as someone has already noticed, it is an artificial boundary, and the same profiles, syntax bindings and guidelines are actually likely to be implemented in the private sector as well.
  3. The third slide explains the deliverables created in the three editions of the CEN BII. If you are new to CEN BII you do not need to read them all, the workshop has been refining and updating its deliverables, therefore you can go directly to the ones from CEN BII3. All the deliverables are published in CEN BII site and I wanted to recommend to all the participants in the new TC 440 to download them and study them in order to be efficient and to avoid reinventing wheels. It is worth using these deliverables as the starting point. But to do so, it is important to read and understand them.
  4. The last slide is just to realize the CEN BII Workshop has ended, or will end on the 9th of March, and that the outcome of this 9 year effort is now delivered to TC 440 to bring it to a new dimension, allowing other countries in Europe to participate in the adoption of the electronic business.

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