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How to establish an Access Point

The following diagram identifies the major activities required for establishing a PEPPOL Access Point.  Again, these relate to the various ‘layers’ involved, from the organizational and strategic on the left to the technical implementation on the right hand side.  Note that the first activity deals with the commercial viability of providing an Access Point. Only when this is determined are the other activities necessary.

 

 

These activities and tasks describe the generalized case, not all these activities will apply to every Access Point implementation. The sections below explain these various activities in more detail.

 

As noted earlier, prospective Access Point providers need to create a business case to justify their investment. This then leads to the following activities.

 

Use the business case considerations to identify what customer requirements you are satisfying. For example:

  • Providing access to new buyers or suppliers using existing eProcurement services.
  • Supporting this with a register of potential trading partners.
  • Integrating customers’ applications with the PEPPOL business processes, such as basic post-award procurement transactions.
  • Services such as archiving, monitoring and reporting.

 

The first task in this activity is to create a business model taking into account the considerations given in section 3.2.  This model can be used to determine the strategy for how the Access Point (and any additional services) is/are implemented and operated.

 

eProcurement is a bilateral process so that buyers need suppliers and vice-versa. This means there is a critical mass of participants required to attract other participants and create the level of usage to support your business model.

 

 

This task relates to the decision to join the PEPPOL community and subscribe to the PEPPOL governance model.  Further information is available at: http://www.peppol.eu/about_peppol/eu-wide-interoperability

 

Having decided to provide a PEPPOL Access Point then the first task is to contact your PEPPOL Authority and register your interest. Contact details are published at:

http://www.peppol.eu/peppol_components/-transport-infrastructure/governance/peppol-authority

If there is no PEPPOL Authority for your region, or your operations span multiple regions, then contact the PEPPOL Coordinating Authority (OpenPEPPOL) at: info@peppol.eu

 

There are several tasks required before establishing the correct legal and contractual environment for providing a PEPPOL Access Point. The most critical is the signing of the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreement (see below).

 

You will probably need to negotiate an amendment to your customer’s current participant agreement to include use of the Access Point.

Issues that need to be addressed in a participant service agreement are described at:http://www.peppol.eu/peppol_components/-transport-infrastructure/governance/transport-infrastructure-agreements,

Should you decide to also provide a Service Metadata Publisher service (SMP) then you may also need to negotiate a further amendment to your customer’s current participant agreement to include use of the SMP.

 

Contact your (or Coordinating) Authority to arrange your PEPPOL Access Point Provider Agreement.  Templates of the Access Point Provider Agreements are available at:http://www.peppol.eu/peppol_components/-transport-infrastructure/governance/transport-infrastructure-agreements. Note that there may be regional differences to these templates to cover different jurisdictions.

Should you decide to also provide a Service Metadata Publisher service (SMP) then you will also need to arrange signature of your PEPPOL Service Metadata Publisher Agreement. Templates of these are also available at: http://www.peppol.eu/peppol_components/-transport-infrastructure/governance/transport-infrastructure-agreements.

After signing the relevant PEPPOL Access Point Provider Agreement, you should obtain the PEPPOL Digital Certificates that will enable your Access Point to be recognized as a trusted service within the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure.  This involves the following tasks:

  • Contact the PEPPOL Certificate Authority (currently, the Danish government agency DIGST is the PEPPOL Certificate Authority) and arrange PEPPOL PKI certificates for your Access Point.
  • Generate your own key pair and let the certificate authority issue an Access Point certificate based on the public key. The certificate authority will provide instructions on the technical details.
  • If an SMP is established, an additional set of key and certificate will be issued for this purpose during the preceding tasks.
  • These tasks are required for interoperability testing with other Access Points and for the proper testing and operation of an SMP. Note that only a limited scope of internal testing can be done without the PEPPOL Digital Certificates.

 

 

This activity establishes the plan for changes or new developments required to existing network services and the operational procedures that support them in order to:

  • Align PEPPOL processes with the current supply of services to your customers
  • Establish additional services to be provided to the customers as added value to the Access Point (e.g. archiving, monitoring, reporting)
  • Establish how your customers will connect to the Access Point service – e.g. using existing VANS connections or via new services

 

Operating business process services for PEPPOL may require the following tasks:

  • Establish connection with the PEPPOL Access Point
  • Establish data transformations with PEPPOL BISs
  • Configure business participants
  • Put the service into production and make it available on the Internet
  • Obtain sign-off from customers to operate in a production environment

 

Operating a Service Metadata Publisher for registering participants may require the following tasks:

  • Put the service into production and make it available on the Internet
  • Install production certificates
  • Establish connection with the PEPPOL Service Metadata Locator
  • Configure business participants
  • Obtain sign-off from your PEPPOL Authority(or Coordinating Authority)

 

Operating an Access Point may include the following tasks:

  • Put the service into production and make it available on the Internet
  • Install production certificates
  • Establish connection with the PEPPOL Service Metadata Locator
  • Configure business participants
  • Obtain sign-off from your PEPPOL Authority(or Coordinating Authority)

 

The specific support tasks required will be determined by the services you intend to provide. The following is a common set of tasks to be followed:

  • Updating system documentation
  • Testing functionality internally
  • Testing functionality in PEPPOL
  • Updating customers’ documentation
  • Informing customers of the new service with PEPPOL functionality
  • Operating a 24 x 7 production environment
  • Providing runtime operational support to deal with transaction monitoring.

 

Depending on your current service offerings you may wish to develop (or integrate) software that supports the eProcurement business processes of your customers.

 

If you intend to provide support for eProcurment business process then the following tasks may apply:

  • Create or configure document format transformations
  • Establish or configure validation processes
  • Establish or configure workflow controls
  • Testing services with customers
  • Obtain sign-off from customers

 

It may not be necessary to develop your business process applications from scratch. PEPPOL provides some guidelines and open source components that can assist in these tasks.  These are available in the "Implementation Support" section on the following webapge:

http://www.peppol.eu/ressource-library/technical-specifications/infrastructure-resources

 

Finally, there are technological developments or configurations that will be required depending on the types of services you plan to offer.

 

The common tasks when developing an Access Point are:

  • Developing or upgrading existing applications and messaging systems to comply with PEPPOL BusDox specifications
  • Creating a software interface with input controls for sending data within PEPPOL
  • Incorporating input controls on interfaces for receiving data from any system
  • Adjust/upgrading workflow of message handling systems
  • Creating a management interface
  • Creating a user interface to register users on a Service Metadata Publisher

 

As with other PEPPOL components, it may not be necessary to develop your Access Point application from scratch. PEPPOL provides some guidelines and open source components that can assist.  These are available at: http://www.peppol.eu/peppol_components/peppol-eia/eia#ict-architecture/post-award-eprocurement/services-components

 

The common tasks when developing a Service Metadata Publisher are:

  • Developing or upgrading existing applications and registry systems to comply with PEPPOL BusDox specifications
  • Creating a user interface to monitor registrations on the Service Metadata Publisher
  • Creating a management interface for the Service Metadata Publisher

 

This is sometimes referred to as the ‘last mile’ – connecting your customers’ applications to the Access Point. The common tasks are:

  • Configuring the data transport protocol between the Access Point and the customer’s application.
  • Ensure that legacy systems are prepared to receive agreed document formats
  • Developing controls and reporting services to monitor the traffic.
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