European Broadcast Union: purchase order management solution

Founded in 1950, the European Broadcast Union is the leading association of national media organisations in the world, comprising a total of 110 national media organisations in 56 countries in and around Europe. It represents its members and promotes the values and distinctiveness of public service media in the world. The Eurovision and Euroradio networks deliver news, sports, events and music to EBU Members and other media organisations.

The EBU ordering process was complex involving several departments from procurement, who took the orders, to finance, who validated them and matched invoices, to legal, who audited the activity. The EBU wanted to make the process much more efficient through a dedicated solution that makes it easier for the three departments to collaborate.
The solution had to be flexible enough to handle a complex process while minimising human errors.


Manage complex processes, taking into account the many special cases
Support breaking news
Improve accounting information for financial divisions
Enforce compliance by auditing activities

Our solution
Enterprise Applications

We initiated this project with a complete analysis and refactoring of the business process and designed a common view of the purchase order process shared by all departments.
We recommended a full custom Java application to fulfil all business requirements and built a core solution based on a dedicated workflow that handled the main business process steps composed of manual and automated tasks. Either an external order import, or user data entered into dedicated forms, could start the process.
We used JSF and HTML5 technologies to make it easy for users and created a calculation engine to estimate the future total cost of the order. External orders were imported with ETL batches.
Next, a configurable rule engine managed the different steps of the process. It could route either to automatic validation, or let an EBU employee take action.
The final step consisted of an invoice matching engine to correlate invoices with the related purchase order and detect any variances.
A year after the EBU began using the new system, the results are good: 140 users worked on 5,000 purchase orders to create 2,500 invoices with a value of several million Swiss francs.



With this single system for operational planning, purchasing, invoice management, accounting and reporting, the three EBU departments are seeing great improvement in the overall quality of purchase order handling from start to finish.


With the new purchase order system, the number of orders rejected by the procurement department has fallen threefold, which lets users spend more time on core business tasks with greater added value.


By using an external rules engine and a dedicated workflow we favoured configuration over specific coding. This strategic choice combined with a centralised platform approach reduces the cost of application maintenance.


Response time and availability of up-to-the-minute data data are crucial for breaking news management. The previous solution was unable to support this need whereas the new architecture now ensures vastly greater real-time data integrity, thereby accelerating purchase order execution.


We used a dedicated notification and audit framework to constantly monitor solution activities. By tracking each event we are able to record the complete order lifecycle and based on this information create reports which respect accounting compliance rules.