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PEPPOL Elements

PEPPOL enables trading partners to exchange standards-based electronic documents over the PEPPOL network. PEPPOL is not an eProcurement platform but instead provides a set of technical specifications that can be implemented in existing eProcurement solutions and services to make them interoperable across Europe.

PEPPOL is based on three major pillars:

  1. the network (PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure)
  2. the document specifications (PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specifications -BIS)
  3. the legal framework that defines the network governance (PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements)

PEPPOL enables access to its network through Access Points, which exchange standardised electronic documents based on the PEPPOL BIS. PEPPOL Access Points have the following key features:

  • anyone can set up a PEPPOL Access Point;
  • no peering agreements needed between PEPPOL Access Points; and
  • no roaming fees allowed between PEPPOL Access Points.

PEPPOL facilitates the pre-award and post-award procurement process with standardised components by focusing on the most complex eProcurement elements (marked yellow in the graphic below):
eProcurement process

In the pre-award phase, PEPPOL supports the public tender process with:

  • validation of eSignatures based on electronic certificates issued by authorities
  • Virtual Company Dossier to submit standardised company information (evidence, certificates and attestations)
  • eCatalogue to submit offers about goods and services in a standardised format

In the post-award process, PEPPOL covers:

  • eCatalogue to exchange information about goods and services offered under the contract
  • eOrders and eInvoicing providing the buyer and suppliers with defined procedures to share common business information
  • Transport Infrastructure (PEPPOL network), the foundation of all PEPPOL post-award services, based on common, national IT compatible standards and interconnecting eProcurement communities

PEPPOL  Network
A key feature of the PEPPOL network (based on a 4-corner model), is the freedom for suppliers to engage with an Access Point provider of their choice, to send and receive electronic documents with any organization in the PEPPOL network through one single source, eliminating complex relationships with buyers, their service providers and related obligations.  The network is governed by the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements establishing a many-to-many legal framework instead of the traditional bilateral agreements entered into between service providers.

The documents are routed through Access Points and the Receiver’s capabilities can be discovered by using the PEPPOL Service Metadata Publisher (SMP) services. The content and validation rules ensure consistency for all parties. (See the list of PEPPOL Access Points)


PEPPOL Business Documents
PEPPOL has developed the Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) for common eProcurement processes such as eCatalogue, eOrders, eDespatch Advices and eInvoices to standardise electronic documents exchanged and validated through an open and secure network, between sending and receiving Access Points for public sector buyers and their suppliers across Europe. A Virtual Company Dossier was developed for suppliers to submit company information in a standardised ‘re-usable’ format, an eCatalogue for use in the tendering process, and a pan-European eSignature validation service.

The eProcurement specifications  (PEPPOL BIS) maintained by OpenPEPPOL build on the work of the CEN Workshop on Business Interoperability Interfaces for Public Procurement in Europe (CEN BII). PEPPOL has not developed new standards but has used the CEN BII results to develop implementation guidelines, known as PEPPOL BIS, that can be embedded in eProcurement and eInvoicing systems, to support interoperability across Europe.

The PEPPOL BIS are formal requirements to ensure pan European interoperability of procurement documents, such as eInvoices. They address the following issues:
• choreography of document exchange
• semantic document model

The choreography deals with capabilities for handling varied and complex  exchange processes, stating what your capabilities are and what capabilities you can expect from your trading partners.

The semantic model identifies the content that receivers can be expected to process without any bi-lateral agreement or setup. It provides for: the minimal content of a document, the rules constraining the content, the use of identifiers and code lists. This model ensures that if the sender issues a document according to the rules, he can be certain that all receivers will able to process it in the same way.

PEPPOL currently supports the catalogue, order, invoice, credit note and despatch advice, thereby supporting a coherent procurement process. The specifications have already been mapped to the Oasis/UBL syntax and are available for implementers in the Technical Resources area.


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