B2B integration can be a game-changing force for many companies, but that doesn't mean implementation will be painless. There are a variety of problems that can complicate the efficiency and effectiveness of a B2B integration initiative. If they are not adequately addressed in deployment plans, minor issues can morph into major roadblocks to a high ROI. They can complicate B2B efforts to the degree that an enterprise can be worse off than before it tried to implement B2B integration at all.
Many B2B companies today struggle with some manifestation of the old proverb "you can't have your cake and eat it, too." With business moving faster than ever and so many options for enterprise improvement available, it can be easy for a company to feel like it's taken on more than it can handle. When that competitive spirit kicks in, though, it's hard not to look at another organization and wonder how it does it. Today's top companies seem to easily integrate new innovations and reap the benefits of disruptive technologies without any of the negative interruptions.
The Internet of Things is poised to dramatically reshape supply chain management. The phenomenon, which represents the addition of Internet connectivity to previously unconnected electronics, has been heralded as a means to create "smart" versions of objects, from toothbrushes to buildings, by turning them into data-capturing devices.
Many organizational roles have had to undergo transformations to address new employee and customer demands. As businesses face greater pressure to more reliably and quickly deliver products and services, they must find ways of doing so without creating excessive risk - as any disruptions in normal operations could have productivity and reputational consequences. This evolution of responsibility has even been felt in the C-suite: according to a recent Ernst & Young report, the CFO must now think beyond the scope of corporate financial resources and risk.
Few business or IT leaders would question the importance of protecting data if asked directly, and the threat of a privacy or security breach has been made a real prospect in light of recent events. Whether the risk stems from the organization's own system administrators (as it did in the case of Edward Snowden) or from cybercriminals, such incidents can be costly for companies and their customers. In fact, even a single incident may leave a trail of billions of dollars in expenses if data such as payment card numbers is compromised. Most companies are likely aware of the risk, but the problem is that many do not have appropriate oversight of their own data security practices.
The customer is always right, or so the old adage goes, and keeping a customer-centric perspective is valuable whether targeting individual consumers or international corporations. Most companies have put some effort into raising engagement via their websites, though that channel is particular important for e-commerce organizations. In addition to measurements such as page views and total time spent on-site, it's important to consider factors such as customer loyalty, which may offer insight into the experiences that target audiences have with a company.
Supply chain management is largely concerned with global outsourcing and networks of related companies. This has been the natural outgrowth of the world economy and companies have found ways to thrive within the system. Sometimes, however, managers can find success with cannily deployed in-house functions.