What is PEPPOL?

What is PEPPOL?


PEPPOL is a set of artifacts and specifications enabling cross-border eProcurement. The use of PEPPOL is governed by a multi-lateral agreement structure which is owned and maintained by OpenPEPPOL.

PEPPOL is not an e-Procurement platform but instead provides a set of technical specifications that can be implemented in existing eProcurement solutions and eBusiness exchange services to make them interoperable between disparate systems across Europe.

PEPPOL enables trading partners to exchange standards-based electronic documents over the PEPPOL network (based on a 4-corner model). These documents include e-Orders, e-Advance Shipping Notes, eInvoices, eCatalogues, Message Level Responses, etc.

PEPPOL Access Points connect users to the PEPPOL network and exchange electronic documents based on the PEPPOL specifications. Buyers and suppliers are free to choose their preferred single Access Point provider to connect to all PEPPOL participants already on the network. (‘Connect once, connect to all’).


In this context, PEPPOL Provides:

  • Market enablement for interoperable e-Procurement solutions
  • Standards based business process interoperability
  • PEPPOL eDelivery Network and PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements which form the technical and legal basis for interoperability
  • Simplification and improvement of the on-boarding process for buyers and suppliers who want to trade electronically.


PEPPOL Components

PEPPOL is based on three major pillars:

  • the network (PEPPOL eDelivery Network).
  • the document specifications (PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specifications ‘BIS’)
  • the legal framework that defines the network governance (PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements – TIA)


In the Post-Award process, PEPPOL covers:

  • eCatalogues to exchange information about goods and services offered under the contract.
  • eOrders and eInvoicing providing the buyer and suppliers with defined procedures to share common business information.
  • eDelivery Network, based on common national IT compatible standards and interconnecting eProcurement processes.


In the Pre-Award phase:

  • Pre-award artefacts will be introduced in 2017 as part of a dialogue on taking over responsibilities for eTendering results from The e-SENS Project
PEPPOL eDelivery Network – An Overview

PEPPOL eDelivery Network – An Overview

PEPPOL uses the eDelivery Network to connect different eProcurement systems by establishing a set of common business processes and technical standards. This provides an interoperable and secure network connecting all Access Points using the same electronic messaging protocol and formats and applying digital signature technologies to secure message content.

Once connected to the PEPPOL eDelivery Network (via a PEPPOL Access Point), public agencies and private enterprises can quickly and easily reach any other trading partner, also using PEPPOL.


In this context, PEPPOL provides:

– Technical specifications and sample software (open source)

–  PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements – a legal framework for many-to-many interoperability


PEPPOL eDelivery Network overview:


PEPPOL SMPs (publishing the capabilities of PEPPOL participants)

All PEPPOL participating organizations (such as contracting authorities or suppliers) publish their receiving capabilities (delivery addresses, business processes and document types supported, etc.) using a separate service called a Service Metadata Publisher (SMP).

The purpose of the SMP is similar to an address book or business registry containing details of participants within a specific eProcurement community.

Typically, an SMP is provided to complement an Access Point, because they publish details for customers of the Access Point. But an SMP can also be provided as an independent service by a third party organization.


The PEPPOL SML (central registration system for addressing)

In order to deliver electronic documents from a sender to the correct recipient, all PEPPOL Access Points need to know about each other and the participants they support.

To do this PEPPOL maintains one centralized service, called the Service Metadata Locator (SML). The PEPPOL SML defines which Service Metadata Publisher (SMP) to use for finding out the delivery details of any PEPPOL participant. This is a similar approach to how the World Wide Web is able to find websites based on their domain names.  The PEPPOL SML is a core service that identifies all PEPPOL trusted Access Points and SMPs.


PEPPOL PKI (security and trust)

Security and integrity of the business transactions through the PEPPOL eDelivery Network relies on using a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to establish a trusted network.

When Access Point or SMP providers sign the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements they are provided with a PEPPOL Digital Certificate. This certificate contains the key information for validating all communications on the PEPPOL network. The certificate is valid as long as the Transport Infrastructure Agreement is valid and can be revoked if service providers are in breach of the Agreement. This ensures only known and trusted providers provide services on the eDelivery Network.


PEPPOL Governance (agreement structure)

The PEPPOL eDelivery Network requires that a number of actors work together in a trusted environment. To achieve this, two levels of governance are required as follows:

The PEPPOL Coordinating Authority has authority over all of the central components of the PEPPOL eDelivery Network (the technical and service specifications, the Service Metadata Locator, the Transport Infrastructure Agreements and its annexes) and will delegate authority over the implementation and use of the infrastructure within a defined domain to a PEPPOL Authority. The PEPPOL Authority Agreement defines the general principles of cooperation between these two parties. As of 1st of September 2012, the role as PEPPOL Coordinating Authority is held by OpenPEPPOL AISBL.

The PEPPOL Authority must ensure Access Point (AP) and Service Metadata Publisher (SMP) services are provided in conformance to the technical standards and service specifications by entering into separate AP and SMP agreements with each of the respective providers within their domain. These providers also have the option of signing the AP/SMP agreements with the Coordinating Authority directly.


The PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreements (TIA) includes three types of agreements:

  • PEPPOL Authority Agreement
  • PEPPOL Access Point (AP) Provider Agreement
  • PEPPOL Service Metadata Publisher (SMP) Provider Agreement


The regime of agreements and the governance structure ensure that:

  • The role and responsibilities of each actor are clearly described and openly available, making PEPPOL an open and transparent community;
    sufficient information is made available through the SML/SMP, allowing a Participant to make this its sole source of information for conducting e-procurement with its trading partners.
  • Through these measures, a set of minimum requirements and criteria will be established and consistently applied throughout the full PEPPOL eDelivery Network.


For more information, including technical specifications, sample software implementations, etc. – please go to the eDelivery Network Specifications.

PEPPOL ‘BIS’ Specifications – An Overview

PEPPOL ‘BIS’ Specifications – An Overview

PEPPOL has developed the Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) for common eProcurement processes to standardise electronic documents exchanged and validated through an open and secure network, between sending and receiving Access Points for public sector buyers and their suppliers across Europe and beyond.

The eProcurement specifications (PEPPOL BIS) maintained by OpenPEPPOL build on the work of the CEN Workshop on Business Interoperability Interfaces for Public Procurement in Europe (CEN BII). PEPPOL has not developed new standards but has used the CEN BII results to develop implementation guidelines, known as the PEPPOL ‘BIS’, that can be embedded in eProcurement and eBusiness exchange systems, to support interoperability across borders.  The PEPPOL BIS are formal requirements to ensure pan-European interoperability of procurement documents, such as eInvoices.


In this context, PEPPOL provides:

  • PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) utilising the Universal Business Language (UBL – ISO/IEC 19845)
  • Product catalogues, order/order confirmation/despatch advice, and invoices
  • A range of pre-award PEPPOL BIS to be released in 2017


For more information, including technical specifications, sample software implementations, etc. – please go to the PEPPOL Post-Award ‘BIS’ Specifications and Guidelines.

PEPPOL Reach and Country Profiles

PEPPOL Reach and Country Profiles



PEPPOL is in use in 16 countries in Europe with PEPPOL Authorities placed in 8 countries.

Currently, there are OpenPEPPOL members in 25 countries in total.

OpenPEPPOL has Certified Access Points in 16 European countries + Canada and USA.


There are 8 PEPPOL Authorities:

  • Agency for Digital Italy (AgID), Italy
  • Beleid en Ondersteuning – Stratégie et Appui (BOSA), Belgium
  • Agency for Digitisation, Denmark
  • Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi), Norway
  • Department of Health (NHS), England
  • Swedish National Financial Management Authority (ESV), Sweden
  • Ministry of Economic Development, Poland
  • SimplerInvoicing, Netherlands

Also, OpenPEPPOL AISBL as an interim choice where no national Authority exists.


Below is a short introduction about adoption in some key countries, including profiles by PEPPOL Authorities, where applicable.