Day to day life of an enterprise comprises of multiple interactions and business transactions with various trading partners (vendors, suppliers, customers, other organizations, etc.). These transactions undoubtedly form the backbone of an enterprise. With the multitude of business transactions, an enterprise could no longer afford to have manual processing at its disposal, hence B2B integration came into existence to electronically exchange business data between the trading partners. Let us define B2B integration formally.
B2B Integration definition – A B2B integration is the way of digitalizing and optimizing the business processes to be shared with your trading partners (supplier, vendors, and customers) for carrying out business transactions.
A typical B2B integration system comes with its unique set of challenges. As it serves underneath the most important business transactions, an enterprise cannot ignore the challenges. Let’s us discuss some important challenges that a B2B integration has –
Onboarding of the Trading Partner – Perhaps the most complex challenge. A complete B2B integration implies 100% trading partner enablement. For an enterprise, the range of trading partners can go up from hundreds to a few thousand. Every trading partner has its own system configurations, database connections, business protocols, formats/schemas, mapping tools, run-time logs, notification trigger system, etc.
Mapping these configurations is a mammoth task. Every trading partner requires new configurations which will lead to creating new processes/rules as per the partner’s business transformation logic and business rules. Moreover, each trading partner is likely to interpret the B2B standards (EDI formats) different as per their own defined communication protocol.
This requires multiple rounds of conversations with the partner to reach consensus on terms and conditions which makes the partner onboarding process cumbersome and elongated, which is one of the main bottlenecks of any B2B Integration project. This not only hinders business efficiency but also creates backlogs which can make the whole process of partner onboarding complex and unpleasant; sometimes leading to a disagreement between the trading partners.
Lack of a robust data mapping tool – Data mapping tool is one of the core prerequisites for successful B2B integrations. It enables the mapping between fields belonging to different file formats of trading partners. The role of a data mapping tool is of supreme importance as along with the mapping operations, it also helps in applying business transformation logic to the mapped elements. It can execute instructions based on the business rules.
Lack of a Scalable B2B Platform – In today’s times, doing business is a dynamic process as business requirements are changing in a flash of the eye. This leads to the change in application configurations between the trading partners which needs to be updated on a real-time basis. The existing system deployed by trading partners has scalability limits which are not adaptive enough to take on the changes quickly and efficiently with zero downtime for the trading partner connectivity.
Moreover, it becomes difficult to securely integrate with newly added applications with utmost control and efficiency as there would be no adaptors or connectors readily available to interface with these applications. This creates unwanted lags in carrying out business transactions and disrupts the whole business activity.
Outdated Integration Practices – The underlying outdated integration practices makes it difficult to carry out B2B integrations. These are often hand-coded without any documentation and create issues when the modifications are required to accommodate the changing business requirements.
To make it work with the current business requirements is a long tedious process as one must take control of the existing infrastructure and map it with the partner's interface with correct business logic and transformation. Moreover, it becomes even more complex when traditional enterprise applications need to integrate with the applications that are hosted on the cloud.
To overcome all these challenges, an enterprise needs to invest in specialized B2B integration solutions. These solutions are specially built to cater to today’s business technology landscape and can provide integration with clear visibility. With a right B2B integration solution, an enterprise can automate the processes, make them error-free through a reduction in manual intervention and get the utmost control of their data operations.
A user friendly B2B integration solution is easy to deploy and provides a user-friendly platform for defining the integrations, creating the business transformation logic and a broad range of connectivity options. It also ascertains faster partner onboarding which is the key for any successful B2B Integration project.
DXchange B2B Integration platform is a modern approach that supports partner ecosystem enablement by integrating their business processes and people. It is secure & supports routing, tracking, data cleansing, configuration, administration & exception handling. To know more, contact us.