The Good, the bad and the ugly of B2B integration – The Ugly
B2B integration or lack of is a major reflection on a company’s ability to successfully compete in today’s global economy. So how well positioned is your organization? Are you still in a “Ugly” state as a result of manual based processes, partner integration that still relies on email, fax and phone to process orders or the inability to easily transform the data into a format your partners or internal systems require?
Respondents to a Vanson Bourne research study indicated 78% still use email to exchange critical documents like purchase orders and invoices, while 53% use fax or mail and 50% use the phone. “Ugly” indeed if you are still using these methods to drive your B2B integration but it doesn’t have to be this way. So what can you do to make it not quite as “Bad”?
The Good, the bad and the ugly of B2B integration – The Bad
So you’ve moved beyond the “Ugly” to the “Bad” associated with B2B integration which implies your organization does have B2B integration capabilities but you are still stuck on the basics. You have achieved B2B integration, but only with your largest trading partners. You can accommodate EDI or XML based transactions but complex data transformation requires custom coding. You have automated some processes but manual intervention is still required to integrate with back-end applications and your visibility over the processing of documents is weak and incomplete.
In today’s global economy living in a “Bad” state of B2B integration is a sign of complacency which still leaves your company with inefficient and costly processes. Not surprisingly a Vanson Bourne research study found that 81% of executives surveyed indicated the need to reduce B2B integration costs was a priority while 70% indicated the need to electronically exchange documents with business partners was critical to success. Add in the 76% who recognize visibility over these critical processes is a high priority and it makes you realize what a disconnect there is between executive expectations for B2B integration vs. the reality of the “Bad” state you still live with. So how do you move beyond “Bad” to the “Good”?
The Good, the bad and the ugly of B2B integration – The Good
The “Good” associated with B2B integration implies your organization is a leader in optimizing B2B integration. You never have to say “No” to a trading partners on-boarding requirements. You have automated processes to route and integrate with backend applications and can extend the automation to your trading partners. You have real-time visibility over the processing that takes place and can manage on an exception basis. But can you do more, have you become too complacent?
The answer is yes! A rule-of-thumb is most companies have achieved B2B integration with 20% of their suppliers representing 80% of the transactions they exchange. But how about the other 80% of suppliers and the 20% of transactions they represent? In today’s world of B2B integration, the use of a supplier web portal, fax-to-EDI conversion software and a variety of cloud based B2B integration services make it possible to achieve 100% B2B integration with your trading partner community. So what’s stopping you from achieving the “Good”?
The Good, the bad and the ugly of B2B integration – The End?
So your B2B integration is in “Good” shape. You followed the advice of the analysts and you have a strategy to achieve 100% B2B integration with your trading partners. You have consolidated your B2B integration onto a single platform and you are recognizing reduced costs and process efficiencies as a result of your efforts. You have visibility over critical B2B processes and the organization recognizes the strategic value B2B integration provides to the company’s success. Is that it? Is that “nirvana” for B2B integration?
Not so fast. The business now expects 100% uptime from its trading partner network. Experiencing network downtime and being unable to receive transactions from trading partners is no longer acceptable. In addition, the demands for the real-time processing of the transactions you exchange is increasing as your company tries to move to a more “agile” business model that 79% of executive respondents to a Vanson Bourne research study indicates is important. And keep in mind the massive amount of data that your organization collects about its trading partner relationships. There is value in that data and companies’ are looking for ways to “mine” it. So Nirvana – I don’t think so but hopefully and end to the “Ugly” and “Bad” of B2B integration.
Check out this white paper on “Are you ready for a new era in B2B collaboration” I hope you find it informative. https://ibm.biz/BdRbpH