Recently I was invited for lunch at the House of Commons to help launch BASDA’s Interoperability Charter. This was the day before Maggie’s funeral so, as you might imagine, we were all subjected to some very tight security checks.
As one of the software providers that’s signed up to the Charter, we’re keen to see the industry comply with certain communication standards so that software packages can easily transact with each other. A good example is if you send an electronic order to your supplier in an approved XML data format so it feeds straight into their own system.
This technology can be applied to all transactions including both sales and purchase invoices. The advantages and cost savings for organisations are immense – imagine never having to re-key paper-based transactions into your system at all, ever – just review and approve.
That’s why we back the Charter and saw the launch in London as a perfect opportunity to drive home just how important this is for the Government and British business. The event was hosted by Cheryl Gillan MP, and was attended by a number of other MPs and influencers with an interest in digital trading.
As you might expect the Government has a keen interest in this aspect of going digital as it would deliver savings of many billions per year if adopted by central and local governments. The BASDA technologies are already in common use in many business sectors such as the construction industry and being a free and open standard, they’re less contentious than the proprietary EDI systems which all carry costs.
As well as parliamentary representatives, Kerry Jones the Assistant Director of EU Services Directive Implementation, at the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills also attended. One of Kerry’s challenges is to get the EU agreed and aligned behind a common policy in this area – yet every EU country wants to move at a different pace and has its own idea of preferred technologies.
Interestingly, although there are big savings to be made if businesses just moved to electronic PDF documents, the Government seemed reluctant to force them to take this small step in order to supply the public sector. This was a fascinating revelation in the month that the “Bedroom tax” had just been introduced along with many other bold and contentious benefit system changes.
From my perspective a move to some form of electronic trading would bring cost benefits to private and public sector alike, yet in this area the UK Government is dragging its heels. In our own organisation we’ve realised savings in excess of £28,000 per year by moving to email invoicing and statements. This is an easy “win” that most companies can benefit from with very little cost or disruption. To take this a step further we’re now offering our customers the ability to view their statements and invoice copies via our aCloud platform. These technologies are now becoming part of our daily life and the BASDA interoperability initiative will make inter-company trading even easier in the future. It’s a move that we should all support, now.
You can read BASDA’s full press release here.