B2B integration is an imperative for developing lucrative relationships and keeping pace with a rapidly expanding digital landscape. However, many incumbent integration solutions are not based on modern considerations and prevent enterprises from realizing their full potential.
The solution enterprises select limits their ability to integrate modern ecosystems and solve a lot of problems they face. A comprehensive solution spins IT environment and aligns information systems to run simultaneously without separate databases, machines, and IT engineering resources. Multi-component tooling makes IT stable besides ensuring greater orchestration and scalability.
As organizations look for ways to monetize their ecosystem, they must ensure that the solution eliminates the following problems to address digital connectivity needs and drive business value:
Increased Organizational Drag and Delayed Service Delivery: Enterprises relying on traditional B2B integration techniques suffer from several bottlenecks, delay in service delivery being one of them. Such firms have independent IT teams to build connections manually which needs more time and money. This, in turn, makes the infrastructure unmanageable & fragile and undermines the organization’s ability to meet current and changing business demands. Here the role of a robust B2B data integration technology comes into play.
Backed by a flexible self-service approach, B2B integration solution can expedite the integration process substantially. It allows business users to build connections, making their customers easy to do business with by saving time and money with accelerated real-time service delivery.
Data Silo Formation: Network folders spread across B2B information systems, i.e., SharePoint, CRM, ERP, etc. create data silos across an organization. The more disparate silos an organization has, the more vulnerabilities are likely to exist across the organization. Conventional enterprise content management (ECM) systems for managing information fail to keep up with the abundance of data. These systems use a single closed repository approach and version control systems which are stacked on top of each other.
Enterprises looking for modern ways to work with information become less receptive to changes. To accommodate new changes organizations should adopt less invasive approaches to enable different departments to manage data in easy ways.
IT Complexity: In most B2B scenarios, the integration layer is built from scratch using detailed technical coding. Enterprises cannot scale these layers at a pace and fall behind very quickly. Teams waste a huge amount of resources in building these rigid connections and scaling them for digital initiatives.
Recent research of M-Files found that this quagmire of silos prevents nearly 85% from finding a document or navigating through different systems. Nearly 48% of enterprises struggle in managing silos, navigating through interfaces, and maintaining the right version of documents.
Opaque B2B Data Environment: In most B2B scenarios, enterprises don't have visibility to the people, processes, and technologies in their B2B ecosystem. Moreover, they don't have an idea of how traffic is flowing through different channels and what it means to business. In those scenarios, enterprises cannot track the underperforming assets, replace them with higher-performing ones or neither personalize them. This disadvantage becomes a bigger problem for digital economies where modernization progresses rapidly.
Success in such dense environments depends upon B2B platforms that help in integrating networks, providing visibility to them, and accomplishing entirely new things. Enterprise relevant controls for accessing and monitoring technologies and data inside them. Business users can exercise better control on every aspect of B2B networks. Partners can assign value to their networks, monitor performance, and make continuous improvements in them. Business users can develop coordinated portfolio and program governance across B2B networks spread geographically and drive critical priorities
Limited Partner Data Exchange Model: Enterprises should evaluate the benefits of P2P integration to understand its importance. This functionality enables enterprises to connect their partners in a network in specific ways and accomplish new things. Financial, Healthcare, and Logistics Companies can use this capability for developing bundled offerings.'
However, given the diversity of information systems, it is unlikely that enterprises will have the ability or expertise needed for creating this information value loop. They need to select partners with a wide range of technologies, connect them in simple ways, and make them work together seamlessly. A modern-day B2B integration solution provides partner-to-partner connectivity to help enterprises race to scale. It helps in creating connections between partners and assuming IT coordination role for greater stakeholder involvement and positive network efforts.
With these factors, B2B integration seems to be a daunting challenge which involves more than storing and archiving data. The future needs of B2B environments cannot be fulfilled with API first mindset or homegrown integration solutions. Silo-based integration foundations can do more harm than good. An integrated B2B ecosystem can help enterprises in creating loosely coupled services & connected experiences, leveraging relationships, and improving speed to market. The ability to get integration right will be a key differentiator that enterprises need to prioritize in 2019.