When a company lacks the right mindset, technology, or strategy, the way it handles the data and connects with other businesses could be interfering with its business intelligence, analytics, innovation, and growth goals. The result? A stagnant organizational structure that fails to deliver the value promised to customers and make informed decisions – securely, easily, and quickly.
But what can the companies do to evade this ill fate?
For starters, they need to avoid these six biggest B2B integration challenges:
The key roadblock businesses have with B2B integration platforms is integrating with other businesses. In order to automate the flow of data between systems and applications, such as ERP, a B2B connection must be built. This can get complex if an organization is doing business with multiple customers, suppliers, and partners. It needs to connect with its systems to achieve the overall objective of B2B integration. When a traditional solution is used, IT needs weeks or even months to build onboarding connections. In fact, IT has to create long custom codes and perform extensive data mappings to onboard customers.
Multiple Data Types
In B2B integration, there are plenty of data types involved, including EDI protocols and standards. An EDI protocol is a way of exchanging data between devices or computers and is used by communication software or application. In the process, to exchange data, both parties need to leverage the same protocol, such as HTTP, AS2, OFTP(2), etc.
EDI standards are the requirements of the specified data formats. They have been developed by industry; however, companies comprehend these particular standards differently, resulting in variation. This variation of data across myriad business partners complicates the process of data integration. Companies typically rely on different formats that comprise diverse attributes. Therefore, it is impossible to integrate bi-directional data streams to meet the requirements.
Complex Data Exchange
There is another challenge companies are facing these days, which is related to data exchange techniques. In the current disruptive times, systems and data both have grown. Now, companies need to send or transfer this data across partner ecosystems. These systems may not be compatible. When that happens, companies find it difficult to communicate and engage with different business ecosystems. That, ultimately, transforms companies’ way of doing business with partners or customers and delivers the value promised to them without delay.
Overburdened IT Teams
When legacy solutions are used, it’s the responsibility of IT teams to onboard, ingest, integrate, and use complex customer data streams. As already discussed, it takes IT to implement complex data mappings and create custom codes to implement onboarding connections, which takes weeks or months of calendar time. A few more weeks or months go into integrating and using these data streams. During all that time, IT remains busy and over-capacitated. They find it extremely difficult to focus on more important, high-value tasks. Along with productivity-related issues, this also increases the company’s overhead costs. That’s because to handle this issue, many companies hire additional IT staff, which increases business costs. More so, many companies are not equipped to hire and train technical staff with the required knowledge and experience to manage complex integration projects. So, the problem only amplifies.
Ever-Changing Customers’ Needs and Requirements
Customers’ needs and requirements are changing continuously. They are more demanding than ever; they want to receive delightful, speedy, and secure customer service. Meeting these changing needs with the help of legacy data integration solutions is difficult. That’s because companies take a lot of time to address and meet the customers’ needs and requirements. This, finally, fills customers with unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Such unhappy customers are more likely to not invest in other products or services offered by the company and, in the worst cases, may even switch.
Lack of Proper Tools and Resources
A sixth challenge faced by many companies is that they lack the required tools and resources necessary to effectively manage their supply chain ecosystems. When companies do not have these resources, they find it tough to ensure that every part of their supply chain operates smoothly and efficiently. This could trigger delays in facilitating orders and increased costs for customers who depend on timely delivery.
All these problems can be resolved by modernizing the data integration approach. By doing so, companies can implement connections quickly, deliver the value promised to customers, and grow new revenue streams.