An overall vision to increase the proportion of businesses participating in the digital economy should ideally begin with processes that are common to every business, including Public Sector. The procurement supply chain usually involves multiple parties and a variety of paper based or electronic forms dealing with the production, distribution, data capture, matching, reconciliation, dispute management and subsequent archiving of documents, errors, manual intervention and processing delays. It is common to every business in some form, shape or the other.
In 2016 the Australian Taxation office facilitated and enabled a multi-stakeholder forum, the Digital Business Council, which endorsed an Interoperability Framework of open standards to pave the way for a whole-of-economy approach to eInvoicing. The Interoperability Framework is designed to address the fragmentation in the procurement ecosystem - every trading network generally uses a unique combination of standards which limits an SME’s ability to exchange documents with multiple networks. The Framework also provides certainty on how a prescribed set of established open standards can be used to extend digital procurement to all businesses.
The DCAFOnline Procurement Initiative promotes the use of the Interoperability Framework to create an ecosystem of digital Access Points, all able to interoperate (easily exchange information) with one another. The philosophy behind the framework “commoditising business-to-business (B2B) integration using open standards that are royalty free, are publicly available and supported by open source and commercial software” will also continue to be promoted under this initiative. Every business should have connectivity via an Access Point into the digital world – irrespective of whether the Access Point is incorporated into business management software, implemented as separate internal or external B2B integration platform
The Interoperability Framework employs a 4-corner model. The model is based on proven international standards and is designed for extensibility. Access Points and Digital Capability Publishers can be implemented by businesses with technology capability our procured from third party technology providers.
We will initially support eInvoicing. During the latter half of this year we will begin work to support other activities and stages within the procurement lifecycle, including payments, remittances, purchase orders, supply chain financing etc.
In the longer term we will focus on other supply chains such as logistics, trade facilitation and reporting - not necessarily in that order.