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Digitalizing B2B business processes—the learnings from E-invoicing

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Digitalizing an existing business process often proves to be more complicated than expected. This article provides insights into obstacles and success factors when digitalizing a business process, using the example of the transition from a paper-based process of handling invoices to electronic invoicing. Since e-invoicing has gained significant momentum in recent years from a business perspective as well as from governments all over the world, it provides an interesting area in which to investigate digitalization. Drawing from input collected in more than 10 years of research on the topic of e-invoicing, the authors illustrate why digitalization is still not easily achieved, despite the obvious advantages, and elaborate on the key prerequisites for success. The results emphasize the importance of understanding the needs of one’s business partners and working closely with them when developing solutions. Furthermore, systematic project management and change management are important. However, as much as there is no “one size fits all” solution, there is also none that will last forever. Rather, as the business environment changes and technology matures, there will be a need to re-assess processes and solutions from time to time. Most importantly, the human factor of change cannot be underestimated. Besides standard change management practices, companies should seize the opportunity to develop their employees through the digitalization effort by engaging them in projects and decision-making processes. Acquiring project management skills, expert knowledge and experience in innovating business processes will serve as an invaluable asset in the long term.




Tanner, C., & Richter, S. L. (2018). Digitalizing B2B business processes—the learnings from E-invoicing. In Studies in Systems, Decision and Control (Vol. 141, pp. 103–116). Springer International Publishing.

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