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Subject: PEPPOL's support for SMEs

Dear Susanne

Thank you very much for your interesting presentation today. I actually learned something and now understands e-CODEX somewhat better (I think) :-)

I'm attaching the PEPPOL 4-corner drawing that I know you've already seen a million times, but just as a visual aid to help me elaborate on how PEPPOL supports SMEs:

The "private company" in the drawing can be any company who supplies to public sector in Europe. It may be a medium sized or a large company who already does EDI and is well-equipped to implement new standards and procedures, but it may also be a one-man company whose technical capabilities are limited to the use of Gmail. The last example may be a bit extreme, but the point is that PEPPOL cannot assume any capabilities or assign any technical responsibilities to the "1st and 4th corner" of the infrastructure.

Instead the responsibilities are placed on the shoulders of the "2nd and 3rd corners" - the service providers (acting as intermediaries):

First of all, service providers required to comply with a set of technical standards and specifications, assuring that every service provider connecting to PEPPOL is able to exchange documents with every other service provider connecting to PEPPOL.

Secondly, the service provider is required to sign an agreement with PEPPOL that obligates him to perform certain functions and to provide a certain level of service. This agreement covers (among other things) an obligation to receive messages to his end-users sent through any other service provider in the PEPPOL infrastructure, and to make sure these messages (if compliant with PEPPOL requirements) are delivered all the way to the end-user. The agreement also covers that the service provider must accept messages from his end-users intended for any other end-user of the infrastructure, and that he must deliver these message to the service provider of the recipient in a manner compliant with PEPPOL requirements and specifications. The PEPPOL service provider agreement does not cover how service providers must interact with their end-users, only that they must relay message to and from their end-users. In other words, it is only the message exchange between the 2nd and the 3rd corner that is standardized in PEPPOL.

The theory here is that where there is a demand there will also be a supply. Where there are companies who want to fully integrate their ERP systems there will also be service providers offering to connect them, and where there are companies who think that Gmail is already a mouthful there will also be service providers who can cater for their needs. Because service providers are obligated to always relay messages between their end-users and other providers in the PEPPOL infrastructure, then every SME (as well as every large organization) has the freedom to choose the service provider that best matches their needs and capabilities, completely independent from what service is used by their trading partner.

In a way you can say that for PEPPOL, the "technical requirement derived from SME support" is that there are no technical requirements for SMEs. Only for their service providers. My take is that this differs a bit from the e-CODEX requirement of avoiding "expensive and proprietary infrastructures" - at least to my understanding but please put me back in my place if I am wrong. I can also see that a similar structure can support your use case for connecting judicial authorities.

Best regards,


From: <Susanne.Wigard@it.nrw.de>
Date: Monday, May 14, 2012 5:11 AM
To: <bdxr@lists.oasis-open.org>
Cc: <giorgia.lodi@digitpa.gov.it>, <Raia@digitpa.gov.it>
Subject: [bdxr] e-CODEX use cases and requirements

Dear TC,
Please find attached a first impression of the use cases and requirements from the e-CODEX project (www.e-codex.eu). Since the requirements are, at this level, very similar to the ones from PEPPOL, I have referenced Kenneth's presentation and added the e-CODEX viewpoint for better comparability.
Best regards
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