Modernizing B2B integration
What are the two most common differentiators employed by disruptors today? Speed to market and technology; disruptors move fast to be first. Is it the same for B2B integration? Partner ecosystems are the lifeblood of today’s leading disruptors and with vast networks of partners of all types—how is that manageable? And how can B2B-based technologies forge connections in the cloud to increase business velocity and spark innovation?
This white paper addresses the critical considerations needed to enhance your B2B operational processes with an automated B2B integration partner management tool.
The need for speed
Faster is better. Our digital world demands instantaneous delivery of information. So why would your partner ecosystem deserve anything less? Implementing a leading-edge partner management tool that orchestrates the speedy delivery of business documents isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have.
Time is money. The quicker you onboard new suppliers, vendors and customers to exchange billing, invoices, purchase orders, Advanced Shipping Notices (ASN) and proof-of-delivery documentation, the quicker you can execute order-to-cash and streamline your supply chain.
Automated partner management tools can help facilitate fast document delivery. But the speed your business needs should be based on solid B2B integration technology.
When evaluating a B2B integration system, consider this:
- Your tool of choice should enable centralized control and monitoring for all partner activities, communications and transactions
- There should be a requirement to ensure accurate message mapping and system-to- system transformation, coupled with an industry-leading integration platform, providing secure and unfettered access to all relevant business systems across your enterprise
- Add-in user clarity and accessibility through a simplified and logical business interface, and accelerating the speed of B2B operations will be a natural outcome.
This partner automation solution is inexpensive, but that doesn’t offset the penalties we’re incurring by not meeting our trading partner service level agreements nor address our low customer satisfaction levels.
B2B integration’s need for cost control
When talking to CIOs, the cost and ROI of a new B2B integration platform (or the cost and ROI of maintaining one) is a major consideration.
Some companies are always looking for the next-best deal, and they routinely suffer from a degree of buyer’s remorse. After implementation and once in production, opinions change from “great find” to: “It’s a great product, but it’s too costly.” “This partner automation solution isinexpensive, but that doesn’t offset the penalties we’re incurring by not meeting our trading partner service level agreements nor addressing our low customer satisfaction levels.”
While operational and infrastructure costs must be addressed, your lack of speed or delivery in your partner or supplier networks could impact your:
- Reputation for meeting service-level agreements
- Customer service expectations
- Ability to grow, scale and quickly onboard new partners
- Identify SLA issues before they result in compliance fines
- Limit expansion into new markets
- Ability to be future-ready for new standards or new tech
Recognizing a changing landscape
B2B’s historical role as an on-premises partner management platform for document exchange is evolving in response to enterprise technology innovations:
Accelerating B2B integration through APIs
Many large enterprises are rapidly adopting APIs to realize new revenue streams and reap the benefits of the API economy. But APIs are also filling a gap at smaller organizations and startups that don’t necessarily practice Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or who don’t support AS2, AS3 or AS4 protocols. These companies are becoming fundamentally dependent on APIs to ensure their ability to conduct daily partner document transmissions.
Onboard partners with self-service
It's hard to quickly onboard trading partners. It was true decades ago, and it still is today in most cases. The lengthy back-and-forth between you and potential partners to get set up is a waste of time and means missed opportunities.
Off-load the process using a self-service application to improve accuracy--and get up and running quickly.
Consider these seven market trends favoring cloud adoption:
- Cost reduction: Companies want to reduce the infrastructure, maintenance and personnel costs associated with older, on-premises B2B solutions
- Pay-as-you-grow: A cloud-pricing model enables you to buy only what you need, empowering solution owners to tightly regulate and control costs
- Unifying B2B with APIs and integration: Companies taking a broader view of cloud computing are adopting a multi function integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) that supports not only B2B integration, but also APIs, hybrid integration—and even the IoT
- Quick B2B scalability: While on-premises scalability can be executed typically through an additional sales cycle, companies see the benefits provided by a fully hosted cloud platform that enables you to quickly ramp up B2B transactions, trading partners and industry standards
- Improved user experience: You can more easily manage transactions across your partner network through clear and well-organized, user-friendly interfaces, providing intuitive accessibility, easy navigations and even fewer clicks
- Rapid partner onboarding: Accelerating the speed of onboarding has been the lifelong mantra of EDI managers. Substantially improving the user experience will quicken new profile setups, associated documentation requirements, and communication preferences for trading partners. The goal? Onboarding is accomplished not in days or weeks—but in minutes
- Hybrid connectivity: You can access and share data between applications and systems in the cloud and on-premises by using hybrid connectivity as part of your B2B solution
Companies must connect with new partners on a daily basis and avoid applications tied to limited integration strategies. With both the B2B trends for APIs and the IoT, B2B partner management needs to coexist with all essential business tools and solutions, whether in-the-cloud or on-premises.
Selling a cloud-based or hybrid approach to your organization
When evaluating B2B cloud solutions, it’s important to engage your stakeholders. Cross-organizational buy-in is critical to the successful adoption of any new technology. Aligning your teams and ensuring everyone is on the same page will ensure your project is successful.
Consider taking these B2B cloud solution benefits back to your team:
If cloud-based is the future of B2B partner management solutions, what does the current landscape look like?
Fragmented and disjointed on-premises and managed services solutions clutter the market due to the legacy of siloed and less than-comprehensive EDI systems. B2B integration in the cloud provides the opportunity to offload cloud operations and infrastructure, while still maintaining the necessary on-site control.
So what is the best option for B2B integration automated partner management?
Recommended platform: webMethods.io B2B
Launched as part of Software AG’s industry-leading, multi-function iPaaS, webMethods.io B2B presents as a fully hosted, SaaS-based automated partner management solution that gives you full control while reducing infrastructure costs.
How does webMethods.io B2B accelerate the speed of B2B?
webMethods.io B2B offers a fresh, new approach to partner management via integration. With a UI that dramatically improves the user experience and productivity, webMethods.io B2B provides increased clarity and intuitive navigations in just a few clicks.
Easily onboard, update and maintain partner details.
Quickly onboard partners with faster partner set-up and maintain them with ease using webMethods.io B2B or allow your partners to create their own profiles using the self-service partner onboarding application. Create intelligent processing rules to route data to where it's needed. You can create rules for an individual document or partner, or by the data housed inside a transaction. Define inbound and outbound communication channels to automate and manage your partnerships, and to ensure documents are sent and received securely using the most up-to-date security protocols. Additionally, webMethods.io B2B allows quick customization of document types to support priority partners who create their own versions of document standards.
Time-saving document creation, parsing and validation is possible. webMethods.io B2B provides deep out-of-the-box EDI support for ANSI X12, UNEDIFACT, EANCOM, ODETTE, UCS, VICS, VDA, TRADACOMS document types - plus XML and RosettaNet support. Document validation helps you assure data accuracy is high and confirms delivery to your trading partners. Additionally, webMethods.io B2B provides a powerful document store of 14,000-plus EDI document types to easily accommodate every partner.
Track and trace encryption/decryption certificates across your entire trading partner portfolio.
webMethods.io B2B integration architecture with webMethods.io Integration
Support any B2B integration use case:
- Receive orders from customers and respond with fulfilment confirmation
- Compare transactions to document order fulfillment KPIs
- Send invoices to customers and receive remittance advices in return to track financials
- Verify sent and received invoices to identify errors and monitor successful transmissions in order to “start the clock” on receivables
- Enable manufacturers to send tenders to a logistics provider, alerting them to pick up and delivery of shipments
- Receive carrier en route updates for delivery. Delivery can also trigger invoicing from the carrier to the manufacturer and receipt of goods for the manufacturer, which also can prompt invoicing.
Benefits of webMethods.io B2B
webMethods.io B2B provides pay-as-you-grow pricing—making it an easily affordable solution that fits your budget.
No IT investment needed
As a fully hosted SaaS platform offering, Software AG handles the infrastructure costs—allowing you to reduce IT costs for both operations and infrastructure. Delegation of software upgrades and maintenance to Software AG eliminates the need for staff management of routine tasks—another time-saving and cost-saving benefit.
Industry-leading integration solution
webMethods.io B2B’s lineage is tied to webMethods Trading Networks, the industry leading B2B Integration solution—and first ever B2B gateway.
Reduce and control costs
- Anticipating how to scale and grow as needed
- Eliminating IT infrastructure or operational investments upfront
- Selecting the webMethods.io B2B platform that best fits your point-of-entry requirements
- Ensuring seamless transformation from any format with smart mapping features and end system connectivity
- Enabling smooth onboarding of partners through self-service with automated partner enrollment
- Ensuring end-to-end transaction visibility with advanced analytics and error reporting
- Providing capabilities that leverage technologies to achieve the enterprise B2B vision
Accelerating the speed of doing business with our webMethods.io B2B platform is the fastest way for you to stay ahead of competitors, keep pace with the demands of your customers and suppliers—and stay relevant to your customers. Market pressures, new business models and disrupters are changing your business landscape—permanently. Waiting is not an option. Moving fast requires strategic vision, foresight, planning and the right tools to support your plans.
Expanding and extending your ecosystem can help you reimagine your B2B operations and transform B2B into a differentiator for your business. Make doing business with your company faster, better and a pure pleasure for your partner and supplier networks.