B2B integration in the cloud: Tips and IBM use cases

     

lightwellb2bgearsfromgroundup-4When utilized for business purposes, the cloud can bring a range of benefits. Depending upon how it is leveraged, these advantages can include reduced operating costs and increased availability of resources, which can lead to a boost in productivity throughout the company.

Many businesses have turned to B2B integration strategies over the years to enhance their relationships with partners and deliver a better experience for customers. When the cloud is utilized for B2B integration, companies stand to reap the advantages of both strategies.

Tips for deploying B2B integration in the cloud

As with any new initiative, there are a few tips and best practices that can help the deployment of cloud-based B2B integration be carried out much more smoothly. 

Deciding which partners will be included 

Many company partners will have varying degrees of technical capabilities. As such, decision-makers must first determine which firms will have access to the B2B platform and how they will connect with it.
Your chosen cloud platform should allow users to access it in a variety of different ways, including mobile and devices, in addition to desktops and laptops, to maximize employee adoption. 

Determine the back-office integration

CIOs and CTOs should also examine their back-office systems - particularly the enterprise resource planning solution - and decide if these should be integrated into the cloud-based B2B integration platform. Oftentimes, the business will see greater success and maximum return on its investment if administrators includes a back-office integration strategy within the deployment approach.

Take it step by step

Don't migrate too much over to the cloud B2B integration platform at once. Instead, items should be moved over individually. Companies should avoid utilizing an all-or-nothing approach to the migration of assets. Identifythe business processes and applications that are most utilized and migrate these first for maximum return-on-investment.

How do users leverage their B2B integration in the cloud?

Sometimes, businesses can learn the most from examining how other firms are utilizing their cloud-based B2B integration solutions. IBM Thoughts on Cloud contributor René Svendsen noted that there are several successful examples of companies leveraging IBM Sterling B2B integration services, including:
  • An American merchandise provider that uses IBM Sterling solutions for secure file transfers among its partners. With such systems in place, the company is able to automate its business document transmission processes to ensure that its partners have a secure means to access the information needed to support trading.
  • A U.S.-based flooring material vendor utilizes its IBM Sterling B2B integration services for all of its data transmissions, no matter the format. In this way, the company has better oversight of its mission-critical data and can better manage its automated data processes.

An international grocer based in France leverages the IBM Sterling B2B Collaboration Network alongside IBM Sterling B2B integration services and community manager to establish a network for its 3,500 suppliers and partners. The network enables automation of the company's order-to-cash process and store shipments.

"Automating business transactions helped the retailer sign on suppliers faster and deliver fresh products daily to its stores," Svendsen wrote. "The data tracking tool enabled the retailer to identify errors early and minimize business disruptions."

If you liked this article, check out others from Lightwell:

Spotlight on IBM Sterling partnership: File transfer, data management and integration solutions

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