Open vs. Closed Networks for e-invoicing and e-billing


The e-invoicing, e-billing and e-payment market has long been divided into two distinct flavors of solution.

These can be considered as either closed networks or open networks. Knowing the difference between these, and how to work best with an increasing diversity of solutions, makes good business sense.

Closed Networks for e-invoicing

When considering the value of closed networks, such as Tungsten with their OB10 portal, think about why you are looking to implement e-invoicing/e-billing in the first place. The real value of a closed network is only found if the majority of your customers and/or suppliers are using this too.

Asking suppliers to integrate their invoicing with a closed system such as Tungsten OB10 can produce headaches. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a customer demand to work with a similar system, you’ll know what we mean.

At Corcentric, we help businesses get around this problem, parsing, converting and reformatting content to ensure invoices are processed correctly when customers have such a solution in place.

If the majority of your customers and/or suppliers are using a particular payment network, then joining this can be relatively simple. It’s worth considering what your plan is for your other customers and/or suppliers – will you need them to join this too, or can you support parallel invoice processing through a hybrid invoicing model?

Open Networks for e-invoicing

Open networks make increasing sense, as the variety of EDI standards and formatting requirements increase. Open e-invoicing networks allow for connection to a variety of other networks, supporting a wide range of e-invoicing formats. Unless your customers and/or suppliers predominantly favour a particular closed network, an open network solution reduces costs through greater flexibility.

Connecting to a Closed Network

An increasing number of suppliers find themselves needing to connect to customer invoicing portals, for instance Tungsten OB10. This is relatively easy if the supplier already works with Tungsten, but in many cases they will need to convert invoices into a format accepted by the OB10 portal.

At Corcentric, we help global businesses connect to any e-invoicing network they need to – through our Corcentric EIPP service. Our expertise in regularly converting invoicing data into the correct format for Tungsten OB10, Tradex, Tradeshift, Talia and other formats takes this pain, time and cost away from our clients.

Invoices might start with unstructured data (e.g. a PDF), which needs to be converted into structured data to ensure invoicing fields map to one another. Data could be located anywhere in a document, or described by different labels. At Corcentric, we map this data on to the specific layout for each EDI standard.

If a supplier works with clients using a range of closed payment networks, this same data needs to be mapped onto different EDIs, where the same data is called by different labels, or could be split and included in different ways.

To complicate things further, some customers require invoices to be processed by an e-invoicing solution that requires one format, but then they need the output from this to be delivered in a slightly different format for their records or approval processes. This may entail a second step of formatting.

How Corcentric EIPP reduces integration costs

Corcentric EIPP handles over $243 billion in invoices every year. A fair proportion of these are submitted through payment portals on the closed networks described above. Corcentric EIPP automatically parses invoices, converting details into the correct format for each portal. Where customers require additional formatting, this is implemented as part of the account set up process.

Corcentric have relationships with the key account managers (globally) with many e-invoicing networks (Tungsten OB10, Tradex, Tradeshift, Talia to name a few). This means we are able to sort out any problems in formatting quickly. Our weekly calls with each account manager ensure swift resolution of any outstanding issues, reducing time on the phone, or going back-and-forth.

Through years of experience, and a library of common formatting requirements, Corcentric is able to reduce what would otherwise be an 8 to 10-week process for internal IT teams to a matter of days. As Corcentric EIPP process data to map onto EDI requirements regularly, and have a long history with some of the main platforms, this process is faster and more cost-effective when outsourced to Corcentric.

Talk to us today about the invoicing portals you need to connect to, we can help you quickly meet these requirement, and future-proof your e-invoicing processes for any new invoicing portal or standard that may arise.