On 19 July 2007, OB10 and GXS announced a partnership to build an integrated e-invoicing solution. Few years ago, perhaps this would not have happened. XML was going to rule the world – EDI was dead, they said. Today, the level of market penetration by both EDI and XML combined is still very small. Paper continues to rule the world. Hence the realisation that we all need to work together whilst safe guarding competitiveness at bid level.
Take Causeway’s Tradex for an instance; it has the capability to convert paper to/from data as well as XML to/from EDI. Tradex links with GXS for document exchange on behalf of number of clients. Whilst we all want all transactions to go through one’s hub, we must realise that customers may not be too keen to scrap their EDI investments. So, the EDI and XML worlds have come to co-exist, as same as XML and paper/scanning/OCR solutions.
According to Jamie Gunn, CEO of OB10:
“From OB10’s perspective, this partnership represents the coming together of two leading technology companies that advance the automation of the global supply chain, helping it move faster and eliminating costly errors. It also satisfies a need for customers making investments in supply chain outsourcing where the invoice process is just one component of the full order-to-cash process. Customers will benefit from a high percentage of first-time, straight-through, regulatory-compliant order-to-pay processing.”
According to Bobby Patrick, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of GXS:
“By partnering together, GXS and OB10 will offer customers a global e-invoicing solution that utilizes the scale and functionality of GXS Trading Grid and the unique nature of OB10’s E.U.-compliant e-Invoicing service. We look forward to working closely with OB10 to explore the ways in which this service can benefit our customers in Europe and abroad.”
So what does this mean? It means another sales and marketing channel for each of the company involved. Each has a better opportunity to increase electronic/paper ratio, giving higher level of benefits to customers. How will the competition respond to this announcement? The only other real challenge in the town is the Hub Alliance (ignoring Amex/Harbor Payments and Xign/JP Morgan for a minute). However, one should not under estimate the power of sleeping tigers such as Causeway’s Tradex.
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