Providers Ally to Offer e-Invoicing Solution for Public Agencies

OB10 connects with A&T Systems to help government agencies meet paperwork elimination requirements through electronic invoicing

OB10 connects with A&T Systems to help government agencies meet paperwork elimination requirements through electronic invoicing

San Francisco — April 24, 2006 — Electronic invoicing specialist OB10 is working with federal government solutions provider A&T Systems to bring electronic efficiencies to the federal government and help government agencies achieve their short- and long-term paperwork elimination objectives.

The two companies announced their joint plans last week and said that they would soon announce their first joint client, a major U.S. Government agency.

OB10 offers a B2B e-invoice exchange solution that it says simplifies and streamlines the complex invoice-to-pay processes between public and private sector organizations and their suppliers. The e-invoice exchange is a service requiring no software or hardware investments.

A&T Systems is a longtime provider of service solutions — in information technology, telecommunications and the Internet, professional services and healthcare — to federal government customers in civilian agencies and public safety.

The Government Paperwork Elimination Act, which took effect in 1998, is designed to reduce the burden of paper invoices and other documents. It mandates that federal government agencies give persons or organizations required to submit information to them the option of submitting that information electronically wherever practical.

OB10 said its network can help government agencies not only comply with the act but also realize at least a 60 percent reduction in the cost of handling each invoice by eliminating mailroom handling, scanning, indexing and data entry on all converted invoices. Suppliers of products and services to the government can benefit from quicker payment of the invoices through a system that helps eliminate the errors caused via data entry and payment to the wrong vendor, the solution provider said.

The OB10 network allows a supplier to submit invoices in various electronic formats, from sophisticated enterprise resource planning systems such as SAP and Oracle all the way down to small-business QuickBooks-generated invoices. The OB10 system then translates the submitted invoice into the format desired by the customer agency or company.

"Many government agencies have attempted to automate incoming invoices using such tools as EDI (electronic data interchange)," said Peter Watson, senior vice president of OB10. "Due to the limited success of these efforts, the agencies have resorted to investing in tools to process the paper more efficiently, like imaging and OCR (optical character recognition). EDI requires a single data format, making any supplier other than the largest hesitant and creating huge technical and cost barriers. Scanning and OCR only improve a paper process; they do not eliminate it entirely."

With the OB10 system and its ability to handle any-to-any electronic data format, Watson said, the government's suppliers won't face obstacles in submitting their invoices electronically. "With an electronic feed directly from suppliers, the system eliminates security screening, sorting and scanning," he said.

Watson also noted that OB10 works with its customers to help their suppliers make the transition from paper invoices by assigning to them an implementation team that provides support to increase supplier participation. OB10 said it guarantees a high percentage of invoices will become electronic within the first six to 12 months of agencies using the service.

"The OB10 e-invoicing solution is a perfect addition to the solution sets we offer to the federal government," said Fred Sanders, vice president of strategic relationships for A&T Systems.

Additional Articles of Interest

— For a perspective on the persistence of paper in the supply chain, read "Paper: Still the Net Best Thing," the Net Best Thing column in the December 2002/January 2003 issue of iSource Business (nowSupply & Demand Chain Executive).

— Enabling the end-to-end purchase-to-pay process may seem daunting, but the benefits are hard to ignore. Read the best practices article "The Analyst Corner: Payment" by Christopher Sawchuk and Joseph B. Lancaster III of The Hackett Group, in the February/March 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.
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