Pushed by fierce competition and under constant pressure from corporations to enable savings and optimize business processes, B2B transaction automation vendors are constantly looking into new features and functions to enhance the added value of their solutions.
Many vendors in this space are developing into ‘business networks’ which go far beyond the early days of point-to-point exchange of structured messages: B2B transaction automation platforms are becoming rich process platforms whose end-to-end ordering, procurement, invoicing, logistics and other functions are used with very little or no customization in a multi-tenant fashion by tens of thousands of enterprises.
Laws and regulations have not been a major catalyst in these market developments. Legal compliance is often seen by vendors as an unpleasant companion that requires attention only when there is a real threat of penalties. The truth is however that vendors can also benefit from the new business opportunities which are arising as a consequence of increased legal harmonization and enhanced legal certainty. A notable example of this can be found in the current interest brought to signing capabilities following the adoption of the EU eIDAS Regulation. The trend is understandable; contract signing constitutes a critical element in any business relation management process, and one can see multiple benefits in adding formation of contracts to the same environment that will be used to manage the transactions following their execution. The eIDAS Regulation offer a rich catalogue of tools in this area, and can support much more user-friendly trust services (authentication and eID, remote management of signing keys, etc.) than was the case under previous EU law. On top of that, these features also apply to the ‘qualified’ trust level, which provides a level of legal certainty that can only be compared with notarization in the paper-based world.