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ExPP Summit #1 – Assembly of e-invoicing community

The 3rd ExPP Summit was held on 10th and 11th of September at Millenium Glocester Hotel in London. I attended both days as a guest of Bruno Koch of Billentis. Bruno who organised the event with Johannes von Mulert of Vereon AG is to be congratulated for hosting an excellent gathering of European e-invoicing community.

In the evening of the 1st day, I had the opportunity to speak to both Bruno and Jahannes. Whilst Bruno brings the e-invoicing domain expertise and industry connectivity, Johannes brings skills and resources necessary to organise such a large event. Together, they have delivered a superb conference packed with users and providers of e-invoicing solutions as well as other stakeholders such as banks, regularity and legislative authorities. Johannes was fascinated by web 2.0 activities in the UK and is attempting to create a buzz in the Switzerland. I introduced him to OpenCoffee concept as an excellent way to promote technology entrepreneurship in Switzerland. I also discussed with Johannes of my ambition to hold two e-invoicing seminars in the UK, one in the North and the other in the South.

This idea was generally well received by number of UK based vendors. My thoughts are of holding an event solely focussing on the corporates, perhaps inviting 30 or so prospects with five service providers. Keep it small, but effective. I know I have the full support of Henry Ijams at Paystream Advisors.

The only criticism I can draw on ExPP Summit is that it was not meant for users of technology but for providers of technology. Whilst EDI has been around for 40 odd years and XML based products has been around for seven or so years, we have achieved very little traction in terms of penetrating the market. According to Bruno, this sits around 3%. If that is the case the priority ought to be “education education education” and not about technology. Especially not about features and functionality. Unfortunately, ExPP Summit miss the opportunity to address this vital issue. Hence my thoughts of organising two events in the UK.

I spent significant amount of time speaking to vendors, notably Accountis, OB10, Ariba and JP Morgan Chase. Ifor Williams of Accountis made some key introductions to those who are trying to address the issue of roaming. I personally do not like this terminology, but 100% behind the desire to interconnect e-invoicing networks.

According to Bruno, there are about 250 vendors operating in the European market, and he predicts this number to increase to 400 in 2009, a 60% increase with 15% market penetration. He also believes most vendors will achieve low penetrations of under 1 million transactions a year, resulting in eventual market consolidation. This belief has resulted in Bruno offering mergers and acquisition services. As you have already read in this blog, I have also discussed acquisition opportunities with one US company recently. I hope Bruno’s prediction will come true. This will certainly increase the level of activities injecting further funding into the sector, which will fuel development of new services as well as expansion both in terms of geographical coverage as well as provision of vertical solutions.

I always consider Bruno as the real guru of e-invoicing. Over the years Bruno has gathered significant market data. I will comment on this later once I get my hands on the relevant slides.

I also had the opportunity to meet Jamie Gunn, CEO of OB10 and Anders Hellermark of Trustweaver on 12th. I will cover these separately, as well as bringing more posts on the Summit. This is really a quick note to cover the event in brief as I have not kept up with blogging recently.

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