B2B integration can encompass complexities, require continuous changes, and serve to be of utmost importance when it comes to realizing efficient supply and meeting consumers’ demands in an unpredictable world. The ever-changing landscape owing to issues such as Brexit, the pandemic, and the changing customers’ needs impacts all small, mid, and large-sized businesses in different ways. It leaves companies grasping at straws to keep up.
Automating important business processes such as data integration can empower businesses to navigate the shift and deliver value to respective business partners, which can provide a competitive edge and ensure customer satisfaction. However, certain challenges come along the way. To perform the best, companies need to understand and overcome the challenges.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the challenges as well as ways to overcome them.
1. Onboarding of Business Partners
The primary challenge that companies face while performing data integration is the difficulty they face while integrating with other businesses. To automate the data flow between applications and systems, such as ERP, businesses need to set up a B2B connection. This can become very complex if a company is doing business with multiple partners, customers, and suppliers.
Also, if the company uses a legacy solution to onboard and connect with other partners, the level of complexity escalates even more. IT integrators are required to implement long custom codes and perform extensive data mappings to carry out onboarding processes. Sometimes, that takes weeks or months for completion. Meanwhile, partners are forced to wait to connect with the business workers, which delays the value and revenue generation process.
2. Multiple Data Types
During the process of B2B integration, businesses have to deal with various data types, EDI protocols, and standards.
An EDI protocol illustrates and defines the exchange of data between devices and is leveraged by the communication application or software. During an exchange, both parties who want to exchange data must rely on the same protocol, whether it be HTTP, AS2, or OFTP.
EDI standards are the specific set of requirements for the format of the data. Businesses, albeit, consider these standards differently, resulting in variation. This variation of data across business partner ecosystems complicates the data integration process.
3. Traditional Data Mapping Techniques
To carry out a B2B integration successfully, companies need to map data. In other words, if they need to perform data mapping accurately, the results won’t be authentic. In legacy B2B integration solutions, IT teams need to rely on manual processes to map data, which not only takes time but it is also complex and error-prone.
Any error or discrepancy in data mapping meddles with a company’s ability to garner insights and make decisions.
4. Unscalable B2B Integration Platform
In the current disruptive times, the business requirements are changing in a blink of an eye. This triggers a change in application configurations between the business partners, which have to be updated on a real-time basis. The existing system used by business partners tends to suffer from scalability issues. That is to say, these solutions are not adaptive enough to embrace changes quickly and efficiently with zero downtime to establish partner connectivity.
Overcome Challenges through Self-Service
Companies can overcome these challenges using reimagined B2B integration technology such as self-service and automation. Self-service data integration enables companies to automate the B2B integration process and deliver the value promised to customers. How?
Self-service data integration gives the power of implementing B2B connections to non-technical business users. It can scale up to meet the changing business requirements. Users can leverage features such as pre-built application connectors, shared templates, dashboards, intuitive screens, and more to implement new data connections with speed. It becomes easier for companies to address and meet the customers’ or partners’ requirements. In the process, customers become happy and feel inspired to invest in other products or services offered by the company, thus growing new revenue streams for the business.
The rapid advances in artificial intelligence enable companies to map complex, bi-directional customer data quickly and smartly. Users need to leverage AI-driven suggestions and machine learning algorithms to map customer data. Thus, the problem of errors or other discrepancies is reduced to a minimum.
What’s more, non-technical business users can onboard complex, disparate customer data up to 80 percent faster. They can point and click through easy screens to implement new onboarding connections quickly. At the same time, IT is freed to focus on other strategic business priorities for innovation and transformation.
In short, companies can rely on self-service and automation to transform their B2B integration processes to deliver the value promised to business partners and grow revenue.