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2012 B2B Predictions – So far so good..?

Earlier in the year we offered 2012 predictions in the world of B2B and I was asked for my perspective on e-Invoicing and trade finance adoption. We are past the middle of the year now, so let’s take a look at how these predictions are progressing…

E-Invoicing Adoption

So far 2012 has seen an increase in government mandates. Any companies doing business with the public sector will be required to issue their invoices electronically. The following countries have made announcements this year and will be joining Denmark, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, etc.

  • Austria 2014
  • Ireland (PEPPOL pilot)
  • France (PEPPOL pilot)
  • Kazakhstan 2012
  • Macedonia 2012
  • Norway 2013
  • Greece 2012
  • United States 2013

Both the E-Invoicing Platform and The Accounts Payable Network have produced excellent articles summarising government initiatives. Sadly lacking however is any information from India, which is still undergoing widespread tax reform… so I may perhaps have to wait on that one..!

One of my colleagues also predicted an increase in mergers and acquisition activity within the e-Invoicing marketplace. This is certainly playing out with the following key acquisitions so far:

  • Basware’s acquisition of First Business Post
  • SAP’s acquisition of Ariba

Trade Finance Adoption

There are now over 30 corporates live or implementing the bank payment obligation using SWIFT’s Trade Services Utility (TSU). These companies are spread across a wide industry sector base including manufacturing, retail, raw materials, technology and automotive. 36 banks have also adopted the BPO and a wider 94 banks have adopted the TSU, spread across 34 countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East and the Asia Pacific regions.

This is a huge increase from 2011 and the trend looks set to continue upward. The initial implementations are predicted to capture multi-millions in savings just through process efficiencies and reduced fees.

Talking with SWIFT, they are predicting different business models for the BPO that will make the electronic trade offering more attractive to large corporates. As an example, it has been argued that the majority of BPO benefits are with the supplier and one scenario suggests that the BPO will follow past Letter of Credit trends and be paid for by the supplier.

So all in all, it looks like these predictions for 2012 are on track… and with the cost savings and process efficiencies offered by these B2B solutions, it can only be good for businesses and government.

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