Partnership between Unit4 and eConnect International, IMage credit has partnered as an ISV with eConnect International, a leader in the Dutch market, for its multi-channel invoice and order processing for Peppol in its ecosystem. The move will extend the Unit4 ERP solution with a market-leading e-invoicing solution. Unit4 can now resell as part of the partnership giving customers a single supplier.

The eConnect solution enables organisations to send and receive eInvoices delivering a complete solution that includes a supplier onboarding module enabling an organisation to help suppliers switch to e-invoicing easily. As an add-on solution, it will enable all Unit4 customers to complement their deployment with e-invoicing. eConnect also has operations in 17 geographies supporting Unit4 as it looks to extend its solution to more companies.

There are several benefits for Unit4 customers deploying the solution:

  • An integrated solution for invoice processing and e-invoicing in Unit4 ERP and Financials
  • An integrated Peppol access point for receiving and sending e-invoices
  • All channels: multi-channel, Peppol, Tungsten, Ariba, Coupa and more
  • All invoice types: from paper invoice to e-invoice, including all XML standards
  • Accounts payable: e-invoicing, 100% OCR, Peppol
  • Accounts receivable: transformation services, global networks
  • Other services: supplier invoice portal, digital validation, multi-company group structure
  • Supplier onboarding assisted by an activation campaign

eConnect enables organisations to send electronic invoices to more than 60 countries. The eConnect solution is already integrated with ERP7, ERPx and Unit4 Financials. More than 25 joint customers should also provide some customer advocacy in the coming months. More should follow as more geographies adopt e-invoicing and, specifically, the Peppol e-procurement specifications.

A big deal for eConnect

This is a significant partnership for eConnect. It enables it to expand its reach quickly across the globe and gain a much larger sales team for its products through Unit4. While the solution integrates with other ERP solutions such as AFAS, Exact, and ECI Inventive, they are mainly Dutch-based. This deal will open up eConnect to a wider global audience without the need for geographic expansion on its own.

Johan Schaeffer, CEO eConnect, commented, “We are delighted to be welcomed into the Unit4 Partner ecosystem. Over the past few years, we’ve established a solid relationship with Unit4, supporting customers across a myriad of industries including municipalities, fire departments, and main water suppliers, all of whom have implemented Unit4 ERP including ERPx and Unit4 Financial Management. This official partnership is the icing on the cake. We’ve optimized inbound and outbound invoice processing to the max. Using our hybrid OCR solution, all Unit4 customers can benefit from a fully automatic administration through e-invoicing.”

Enterprise Times asked Beata Wright, Global Head of Partner Ecosystems, Unit4, what is eConnect contributing to this partnership?

“With operations across 17 geographies, eConnect is modernizing one of the most important and time-consuming business processes – making the administration of invoicing entirely electronic via a secure and open network. All processes within eConnect are designed to provide the most efficient, automatic handling of e-invoicing based on the company’s own detection systems and by utilizing its expertise in this field.

“One area which is unique to the solution is the combination of a hybrid pdf to e-invoicing tool with embedded Peppol strategy, with proven existing integrations with Unit4 products. The eConnect high-quality infrastructure also offers managed e-invoicing with guaranteed always-on strategy.”

What about Unit4

Beata Wright, Global Head of Partner Ecosystems at Unit4
Beata Wright, Global Head of Partner Ecosystems at Unit4

Wright also commented, “We truly value our partners as an extension of our organization, providing best-in-class tools, support, knowledge and enablement to deliver even greater value to our mutual customers around the world. With eConnect, our customers will benefit from innovative, encrypted software and a reliable infrastructure with a 99.99% uptime guarantee. All processes within eConnect are aimed to be the most efficient, automatic handling of e-invoicing.”

Enterprise Times sought some answers about this deal. Hitherto Unit4 has often bought add-on solutions rather than partnering. Earlier this year, it bought Scanmarket, a source-to-contract provider. First, why the partnership with eConnect?

“eConnect is the leader in the Netherlands public sector market, and it will allow us to win tenders in this space.”

Unit4 already has several public sector customers in the Netherlands, including Gemeente Bergen op Zoom. In October 2020, the Dutch government set up the Netherlands Peppol Authority (NPA) with a vision that all governments and businesses (B2B, B2G, G2B, G2G) exchange e-messages. Both central governments and most of the local authorities are already connected to Peppol.

Enterprise Times asked whether an acquisition was considered. Wright answered, “Initially, the focus will be on the public sector in the Netherlands, but we are already working on opportunities in other markets around the world.”

Enterprise Times:  What does this mean

For Unit4, this provides a valuable partner that will allow it to attack the Dutch public sector more confidently. With Unit4 able to resell the product, it can extend its use beyond the Netherlands and into adjacent geographies such as France, Germany and the UK, where it also has a strong presence.

Wright’s answer to the acquisition question might infer that while Unit4 considered buying eConnect, it needed to understand that the product would work internationally. Unit4 may have the potential to acquire the company should the partnership prove successful in the Netherlands and beyond. It will be interesting to see what happens in twelve months. The risk is that the value of eConnect could quickly grow if Unit4 manages to create a wedge into foreign markets that enable eConnect to grow quickly.


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