Top points to consider when choosing an NHS PEPPOL provider

Top 5 points to consider when choosing an NHS PEPPOL provider

We have compiled a list of the top 5 factors to evaluate when choosing a provider to try and make the process as simple as possible.

With the NHS eProcurement strategy being steadily rolled out during 2017/18, all NHS Trusts and their suppliers are being actively encouraged to start investigating how they can best implement electronic trading. One of the first and most important priorities along this journey is choosing the most appropriate PEPPOL provider for your organisation. This can be a daunting task for a sector that's never been exposed to this type of technology and has little knowledge of the mainstream suppliers. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the top 5 factors to evaluate when choosing a provider.

1. Look for a provider who has been awarded a place on the CCS Framework

As part of the eProcurement Strategy, the Crown Commercial Services evaluated a number of providers and awarded them a place on their framework. This list can help both Trusts and their suppliers when choosing an appropriate provider as some of the important criteria for choosing a provider have already been assessed.

2. Experience with PEPPOL and the healthcare market

PEPPOL is a set of standards that originated in central Europe and is slowly being adopted throughout Europe. As such, PEPPOL standards have only been minimally adopted in the UK to date. As a result, very few UK providers have experience in implementing a PEPPOL compliant solution.

On the other hand, a substantial regional presence in the UK is a must to ensure the relevant ongoing support and implementation is available in English. The eProcurement Strategy has only recently progressed out of the trial stages and as a result very few providers have had any experience in the
healthcare market.

The ideal solution to this challenge is to find a UK provider with experience in a neighbouring countries healthcare market, preferably a market which has already adopted PEPPOL. This scenario allows you to benefit from both a regional presence as well as the required experience.

3. Flexibility of solution

The majority of the solutions now available to the healthcare market have originated from a product that has been implemented in other sectors. This means they'll have developed a suite of functionality over their life cycle that can be harnessed within the eProcurement strategy. The challenge is identifying the core functionality that will help your organisation reach it's goals.

As a Trust, a key consideration is the ability to process a wide selection of formats as this allows a much larger set of the Trusts suppliers to trade electronically e.g. the ability to process PDFs allows much smaller suppliers to participate with electronic trading.

As a supplier, it may be worth considering integration for your solution to allow the data passing through your solution to automatically populate your ERP system. This type of functionality can greatly reduce the amount of time spent processing orders and invoices.

4. Service level agreement

One of the key differentiators between many electronic trading providers is the level of service that's provided alongside the solution. The many connections and organisations involved in an electronic trading solution provides many possible points of failure. An electronic trading provider offering a good managed service should constantly monitor all these points of failure and have processes and procedures for quickly resolving any issues. This proactive approach is essential to maintain an effective electronic trading solution.

Not all providers offer a managed service as standard and instead shift much of the responsibility onto the customer to identify and resolve issues. Without specialaist knowledge within your organisation, this task soon becomes a problem.

5. Stability of the provider

The size of electronic trading providers differs greatly in the UK with many smaller organisations competing with larger more established providers. Whilst this situation helps maintain a competitive landscape, smaller organisation usually don't have the financial backing to match their competitors which puts them at constant risk of failing.

The TrueCommerce Solution

TrueCommerce has built upon its existing PEPPOL healthcare sector experience in Denmark to provide a reliable and proficient electronic trading solution for both NHS trusts and suppliers to enable them to meet the NHS eProcurement strategy deadline. TrueCommerce’s place on the PEPPOL Access Point Services Framework Agreement and its PEPPOL Access Point Certification means TrueCommerce has the ability to electronically transfer business-critical documents such as orders and invoices between NHS trusts and their suppliers via an accredited and compliant solution.

TrueCommerce’s many years of experience will ensure the rollout of its electronic trading solution to the UK healthcare sector will be completed smoothly and efficiently, whilst the all-important and often overlooked ongoing support of the solution will be in safe hands with the UK’s most comprehensive managed service.