You can think of B2B integration as a patched quilt. There’s your business, in the center of the quilt. You’re connected to hundreds of other patches, or businesses, through countless threads; or channels and communication.
If you’re not using quality thread to patch the quilt, they will fall apart after some time. This is applicable to B2B integration and collaboration; if you’re not managing your many channels and communications with your different business partners correctly and effectively, your business efficiency will suffer.
Whether your company is in the midst of a merger, looking to connect your supply chain or filling in gaps between components of an enterprise, the use of B2B integration solutions will improve the experience for end-users.
When faced with the challenge of connecting various aspects of an enterprise, the right software for data translation, data security, collaboration and hosting will simplify the process of B2B collaboration and ultimately reduce the learning curve of adopting a new system. Many of these obstacles are easily avoided or overcome through integration solutions, such as the IBM® Sterling B2B Integration solutions, coupled with expertise from an experienced partner to implement and optimize the solution.
What are the key areas of concern when implementing such a solution? Here are the top challenges reported by supply chain managers in adopting a new system or evolving a current system:
Take it one step at a time
Search Business Intelligence recently outlined some of the most common hurdles presented to businesses in the midst of integration activities and processes. One often reported challenge is known as the big-bang trap, which occurs when a company tries to tackle all aspects of business integration at one time, rather than sorting through the process step by step.
While the idea of taking the job head-on may seem time-efficient, it is often not cost-effective and may harm a business' bottom line in the end. Working through an integration process in a step by step fashion may create fewer challenges or costly errors that can actually derail integration success in the long-term. Having an expert company audit or evaluate your B2B needs and current situation can help you sort through the complex processes involved in B2B integration.
Leave an electronic trail
Another common problem that is easily avoided stems from a lack of automated processes during integration phases. Search Business Intelligence reported the neglect of automated processes can result in significantly more errors and data integration challenges that will slow down business, eat up valuable resources and waste precious time. When manual steps are taken over automated processes, human error comes into play, threatening to negatively impact efforts in the short term or even leave long-term fractures in the system. When a unified platform for doing business is introduced, files will leave a data footprint, thus will be easier to track and manage.
Speak the same Language
Data discrepancy is another common hurdle that could be avoided with business integration technology. All company information should be actively monitored, not just during the integration phase. This will ensure all data is secure, accurate and up-to-date so any errors in integration will not be worsened with a discovery of inaccurate data. By leaving data unattended for periods of time, a company runs the risk of transferring or sharing information between partners, clients or departments that is not only inaccurate but possibly corrupted or damaging to the business, the website reported.
To learn how to start the process of integrating your business for better commerce and partnerships, download the following information kit: