Becoming a Peppol VAN Operator – How Consulting Companies Can Gain New Revenue Potential

Now more than ever, businesses in the B2B and B2G spheres are looking to reduce administrative costs without hindering the expansion of their operations or compromising security. Often, consulting companies are called in to assess the efficiency of an organization’s business processes, but then what? For the consulting business, having some add-on services that it can offer to the client means that both the client will benefit from utilizing software that makes administrative processes easier, while the consulting service benefits from a new revenue stream. 

In this blog post, we are going to talk about becoming a value-added network (VAN) by adopting Peppol, a connect once, reach all network and the new standard for electronic data interchange, based on interoperable globally defined standards. By connecting with Galaxy Gateway as a Peppol infrastructure provider, you have a ready-made solution to offer to clients who transact with both private companies and public sector organizations. We’ll cover:

  • What value-added networks are.
  • The benefits and limitations of using VANs.
  • The benefits of the Peppol network.
  • Working with Galaxy Gateway to provide Peppol to your clients.

What is an EDI VAN provider?

What is a VAN? 

Put simply, value-added networks are services that allow for the secure transfer of data from one party to another. VANs are often used for electronic data interchange (EDI), structured data that can be made interoperable by the VAN operator when one party wants to comply with another country or region’s legal requirements for documentation.

Why not just use email to send documentation from one party to another?

This is a good question. VAN operators have indeed been challenged by the internet’s proliferation of different messaging services, only one of which is email. Consequently, they have upgraded their services, providing add-ons and a greater range of services such as Peppol, as well as heightened security.

This aside, if we take the case of e-invoicing, which makes up a large amount of the official documentation transacted between parties, there are two clear reasons why email is not the preferred medium for document exchange:

  • Sending a PDF invoice through e-mail requires manual processing, which is incredibly inefficient when we can automatically process documentation.
  • Email can be easily hacked into, resulting in invoice fraud being perpetrated. Already high instances of business email compromise (BEC) targeting payments and invoices rose by 81% between Q2 and Q3 of 2020 as more employees started to work remotely.

As we can see, VAN operators still play an important role in the business environment, and we will cover the benefits in more detail later in this blog.

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Types of value-added networks

Acting as the intermediary between two parties, Value-added networks can be organized differently depending on specific requirements.

  • One-to-one – The most simple configuration, this involves one direct connection between two partners.
  • One-to-many – One business can establish direct connections between many different partners. Even if these partners are in different countries, the VAN operator makes sure the document is converted to the required format.
  • Many-to-many – Multiple businesses can reach each other within a secure network facilitated by the VAN operator.

What are the benefits of using VANs?

Using Value-Added Networks to exchange information with trading partners around the world comes with some distinct benefits.

Automated and standardized

As mentioned above, EDI allows for the transacting of structured data automatically into your accounting system. Not only do you have standardized data, but you cut down on manual errors from human data entry.

Development and maintenance covered

No need to establish, grow and maintain an increasing number of connections. The VAN operator will handle the network for you.

Encrypted

Also spoken about above in the context of email fraud, connecting with a VAN network means your messages will be encrypted, meaning greater security through a custom channel.

Greater functionality

VANs are constantly looking to deliver more for their customers in order to stay competitive, which is why they offer things such as management reporting tools, analytics, and greater visibility.

What are the limitations of VANs?

Despite the upgrading of value-added networks in recent years, there are still some clear limitations that can be identified.

Costly to build and maintain

Getting a VAN setup and maintaining a customized connection is obviously going to be more expensive than using a service where the infrastructure is already in place. A cost-benefit analysis must be done to see if setting up a VAN connection is financially viable.

Growth of competing services

There are more and more solutions that offer easy and cost-effective ways to send data and messages around the world. The VAN operating model looks antiquated unless improvements are continually made. This is precisely why VAN operators are implementing Peppol.

Why use Peppol?

Peppol is the next generation of secure e-document transfer. It contains many of the same benefits of transacting with a value-added network, such as security and automated data entry into your accounting system, but without the need to continually add connections as you enter into new agreements with partners. This is because Peppol is a connect once, reach all network. 

As seen in the diagram below, all Access Points, which are run by Peppol service providers, are connected. This means that no matter the Access Point your business is using, you can connect with any other partner in the world and trade e-invoices, e-orders, e-shipping notes, and more, based on Peppol’s Business Interoperability Standards (BIS).

Due to the functionality, security, and flexibility that Peppol provides, it has become the network of choice for e-invoicing throughout the European Union, replacing national document standards that were not interoperable, as well as part of the e-invoicing initiatives in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

New revenue stream: becoming a Peppol VAN operator

The pandemic, new technology, and the changing nature of projects have contributed to the fact that consulting is no longer as profitable as it used to be. For consulting firms advising other companies on how to better run their operations, having added services that they can provide makes business sense.

Becoming a Peppol VAN operator gives you a tool to assist customers that transact regularly with different trading partners, both domestically and internationally while creating new consulting revenue. To get started, it’s as simple as signing up with a Peppol infrastructure provider.

Start with Galaxy Gateway today

Galaxy Gateway is the largest provider of Peppol infrastructure in the world, working with ERP vendors, VAN operators, multinationals, and governments around the world. Our clients include SAP, Xero, Hogia, Visma, and Björn Lundén, and we have everything needed to fast track the Peppol accreditation process, so you can start using or providing Peppol services to your customers within days!

With Galaxy’s white-label Access Point accreditation, you can leverage our infrastructure, certifications, and advanced features for your own business needs. Simply connect Peppol to your existing software and we handle:

  • The ongoing development and maintenance of your Peppol connection according to requirements mandated by OpenPeppol.
  • Scalability, so you can work with a growing number of clients quickly and without technical disruptions.
  • Current and upcoming certifications for all Peppol Authorities and regions.

We also provide:

  • Comprehensive onboarding and documentation so you can get started easily.
  • Additional features such as Peppol document validation, Peppol Participant Lookup API, IP whitelisting for your business environment, and encryption at rest.
  • New advanced features that the Tickstar Team develops and adds to Galaxy Gateway Services.
  • Stunning support and error handling.

Working with Peppol for almost 10 years, we know how to make it work for your business, so simply get in touch to ask our knowledgeable specialists any questions, get a detailed pricing breakdown, or request a demo!