Insights for Procure-to-Pay and Finance Leaders

2013 predictions

2013 is the year of … truly open global business

This is one of a series of three articles written by our founders hinting at what’s to come in 2013, find the full set here

Across history, one thing we’ve learned is that working more closely together confers benefits for all involved. The United States of America, the International Space Station, the internet, The European Union. Collaboration works.

But the example of Europe reveals many interesting trends in the area. The European Union was an effort to create a single shared market for all countries involved. And how was that achieved? One idea thought to be of key importance was European Monetary Union.

However, the more you think about it, the more you see that the idea of linking currencies as a solution to increase stability and efficiency is fairly primitive. To achieve the concept of a single shared market, it’s more about the mechanisms that host the currency. More about the platform that connects the members.

When it comes down to it, currency in electronic form is, in most meaningful ways, just a data figure. And as more and more companies come to do business electronically, what’s going to really matter and bring Europe together as a cohesive trading body are the platforms that brings those countries together.

In this respect, the scope for sure a platform to extend beyond distinct trading regions makes it an even bigger opportunity. Public sector organisations will lead the way with open platforms for business interactions that serve their communities both for internal trade and on the global stage. The dream of a unified European marketplace was started more than half a century ago; today, the world’s the limit.

But openness is key. The successful PEPPOL project, which provided a single interface for e-business with public institutions across Europe will be replaced with Open PEPPOL, an equivalent that will upgrade and replace it for the long term.

These resources are maintained and pioneered by the public sector — but not only to serve it. They exist to serve the purest sense of public sector purpose; create and cultivate an environment in which private sector businesses of all sizes may flourish.

Recent standards like GSM show the model that works — but when applied to global trade, have a potential that’s near limitless. 2013 will be the year of openness in business technology, where ubiquity is driven by both private and public sector working in tandem around a platform for all business interactions.

This kind of openness is the true currency of business.