It's always interesting to get data on how companies are actually using technology. In a recent survey commissioned by IBM, 78% are still using email for orders/invoices, and 53% still use fax or postal mail. In both cases, email and fax/post are used for between one-quarter and one-third of all transactions. You can see more about this research on Josh Hardy's B2B and MFT blog - 'Phone, fax, email, & snail mail still heavily in use for B2B transactions'
The ability to automate such transactions between systems to synchronize value chains has been around for many years, and this synchronization is key to adapting successfully to changing customer demands. So why are companies still using email, fax and postal mail to exchange key data with suppliers, customers and partners? And more importantly, what can they do to change this?
In a recent report, Bryan Ball of Aberdeen Research compared organisation's approach to B2B initiatives with key performance measures for those organisations, and found that leading organisations are doing measurably better. On average, leaders achieved:
- Customer service rate of 97%, compared with 89% for followers
- Cash conversion cycle of 19 days, compared with 41 days for followers
- Gross margin of 28% (compared with 25%)
- Increase in total landed costs of 2% (compared with 9%)
That's great for the leading organisations, but can we link this back to their approach to B2B? Whilst it would be easy to over-simplify, there are clear trends visible in the Aberdeen data on these organisation's B2B priorities - leading organisations are prioritising collaboration initiatives with suppliers and customers, whilst followers are still focusing on simply integrating their systems both internally and with partners.
Correlation is not causation, but there's clear evidence here that organisations need to take a hard look at their B2B integration capabilities, and investigate how deficiencies in their B2B might be holding back their ability to drive improved customers service and profitability. As Bryan titled his Aberdeen report - 'B2B Collaboration: No Longer Optional'
To hear Bryan discuss the findings of this report, register for the forthcoming webinar: Why B2B Collaboration is No Longer Optional for Your Organization