In last week's blog, I talked about the extent to which some organisations are still using manual methods like fax and email to move information around, whilst a recent Aberdeen report had identified improvements in key performance metrics for those organisations who did prioritise B2B collaboration.
So why are we still seeing such reliance on manual methods? The Aberdeen report 'B2B Collaboration: No Longer Optional' identifies two challenges which are significantly more important for followers than for leaders - 'Over-reliance on off-line technology' and 'Lack of awareness of value proposition of B2B integration'
Over-reliance on off-line technology links us back to my first post on this topic, and the 53% of companies still using fax and postal mail. Achieving B2B integration with 100% of partners has never been easy, but the technology to integrate processes with more-and-more of your B2B partners certainly exists, and more collaborative B2B processes are going to be highly elusive until the basic integration layer has been put in place.
With respect to the second point - lack of awareness of the value of B2B integration - there are examples and data available to help companies determine the likely benefit. Independent reports such as Aberdeen's 'B2B Collaboration: No Longer Optional' mentioned earlier, plus case studies and ROI calculators. IBM offers business value assessments to really drill into the specific benefits that a company can achieve, and at our Smarter Commerce Summit in Nashville (May 21-23) and Monaco (June 18-20) you can hear IBMers and customers talking about the benefits of B2B integration. There's really no excuse for a lack of awareness of the value of B2B integration, and IT departments should leverage the data available to determine the likely benefit to their organisation, and build a business case for the improvements their B2B capabilities need.