It's 2013, and EDI or electronic data interchange has been a standard for over 40 years, yet companies are still leaving money on the table by continuing to manually process high percentages of business-to-business (B2B) transactions via phone, fax, email, and even postal mail. If this is your company, don't worry you aren’t alone… But rest assured there is a better, smarter way!
IBM recently commissioned Vanson Bourne to run the 2013 B2B and MFT Global Study where we asked 650 Senior level IT executives from 8 Countries across 7 industries a series of questions to uncover current electronic commerce trends*. Here is just a sample of what we found:
When asked to choose the primary communication methods for business transactions such as purchase orders (POs) and invoices here is what we learned:
78% of respondents use Email which equates to 32% of their total B2B transactions
53% of respondents use Fax/Mail which equates to 26% of their total B2B Transactions
23% of respondents use phone which equates to 26% of their total B2B Transactions
Why should this be a concern for your company? The list of reasons is long, but in summary, manual transactions;
- leverage costly human labor to key into backend systems and often lead to even more costs when keying errors occur.
- result in blind spots in your operational and performance visibility often leading to customer satisfaction issues from delays, shortages, and inaccurate orders or invoices
- can lead to compliance challenges due to a lack of governance and control
The good news is there are numerous customers out there today leveraging Smarter Commerce solutions to synchronize their value chains by automating small manual partners with web forms, fax and postal mail conversion services, and simplified in network processing delivered through managed services offerings.
In my next blog, we'll look at how easy it is to build a case for automating these transactions; leveraging past and present analyst transaction cost information and an IBM B2B Automation Savings Calculator.
* Vanson Bourne Research covered these countries, industries, and roles:
Conducted by Vanson Bourne, on behalf of IBM in Q1 2013
650 Senior level IT executives from 8 Countries:
- US, UK, France, Germany, South Africa, China, Australia, & Brazil
Spread across 7 Industries:
- Financial Services, Manufacturing, Retail, Telecoms, Distr/Logistics/Trans, Energy/Utilities, & Healthcare
In 6 roles in IT management:
- C-level, IT Dir, Operations, Architect, Security, & IT Management
- 650 Senior level IT executives from 8 Countries: