Nipendo: Tradeshift has Company for Platform-Centric e-Invoicing

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With Nipendo’s approach to network enablement and connectivity between buyers and suppliers, the architecture and platform is abstracted from the applications that sit on top of it (for additional context on this approach and Nipendo's history, see also: Nipendo: Further Proof of the E-Invoicing Led Platform Transformation). This is somewhat similar to what Intenda has enabled with its Devolution platform/architecture, but is quite different than what others in the supplier network/platform space have done, generally speaking (aside from Tradeshift).

In addition, the level of granular detail that a company can configure in deployment or on an ongoing basis (with only a business analyst resource, not an IT resource) with Nipendo goes beyond what other supplier network offerings enable without significant customization on the application side. For example, regardless of back-end system (or P2P system), an organization can define highly specific tolerances and routing.

These might be for a given type of invoice, category, and geography based on specific elements that are triggered not just by the flow of information, but other elements (e.g., time sequences between events). Nipendo can also alert users, for example, if a supplier does not respond to a request or if other elements (e.g., release schedules) of activity are not happening at specific tiers in the supply chain as they should according to a defined plan. And all off this happens in the network space that exists between companies rather than in ERP, a business application, or even an “app” on the network.

Curious, you say, but how does this impact the ability to enable specific applications like P2P capabilities, including e-invoicing? In positioning their e-invoicing approach, Nipendo suggests that traditional approaches to enabling this type of connectivity focus on transactional mapping at the database level. For example, traditional transactional mapping might take the form of translating an EDI or XML schema from one format to another. Even in cases where a many-to-many network is involved, the “connects” between a supplier or buyer and the network is one-to-one, meaning that a schema and system output might be mapped to enable many-to-many connectivity, but the underlying system and business processes are not.

Nipendo's e-invoicing approach leverages the underlying platform by enabling more than just basic translation, routing, and transactional validations to occur in the network “cloud.” Nipendo enables basic connectivity approaches as well as more advanced transactional, business process validations and changes (e.g., amendments) to occur on the platform level because it is able to abstract all inbound documents and metadata into a persistent, translated and standardized structure  It can then push information either into Nipendo’s application, other network “apps,” or a buyer or supplier’s own system.

This type of network-driven connectivity can occur throughout the lifecycle of the source-to-settle process, starting with up-front bids/acknowledgements and then cascading through the order processing/fulfillment, shipping/receiving, receipting, invoicing, and archiving processes – on one tier, or as many that are required. While the potential uses of a platform-based approach to connectivity are endless, Nipendo has enabled the following general connectivity use cases to date: RFQ, purchase order (PO), advanced ship notifications (ASN), delivery notes, warehouse receipts, invoice drafts, pro-forma invoices, e-invoicing (credit/debit), payment notices, GL information, and supplier master data.

We’ll continue our review of Nipendo on Spend Matters Plus/PRO in the coming weeks, taking a closer look at the provider’s e-invoicing capability on a comparative basis as well as their network-driven approach to connectivity.

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