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eCommerce is firmly established as a preferred channel for B2B sales. As the scope and volume of digital transactions expands, companies are increasingly focused on how to maximize competitive advantage from their eCommerce capabilities. In a recent article on B2B companies winning the most market share, McKinsey cites “achieving e-commerce excellence” as a key success factor.
Integration is vital to delivering this excellence.
More and more organizations recognize the critical importance of connecting their eCommerce sites with buyer eProcurement solutions. This strategy, also known as B2B connected commerce, creates a seamless and transparent end-to-end procure-to-pay (P2P) process through solutions such as PunchOut, PO Automation and Invoice Automation.
Businesses that invest in integrating their eCommerce system to key customers’ eProcurement solutions create competitive advantage, regardless of how they choose to go about it. Many large suppliers have chosen to implement and maintain these integrations themselves. However, there is an easier and more efficient way companies can achieve integration: partnering with a specialized technology provider.
Understanding the technical requirements and business value
Fortunately, organizations who have invested in-house resources into achieving B2B connected commerce have already:
- Demonstrated organizational capability and technical know how: Building integrations grows knowledge and engagement across the organization, and inevitably engrains integration as a key aspect of how business is done. It also exhibits understanding of design requirements for integration across different eProcurement platforms and in implementing solutions.
- Achieved customer buy-in: Each integration builds confidence with customers, and the supplier grows customer engagement skills that facilitate integration with existing buyers and new leads.
- Established understanding of purchasing data flows: Understanding the flow of data from buyer to supplier, as well as its characteristics and nuances is key. This creates a rich knowledge of how these data flows work, facilitating future integrations.
For companies who have already invested time and resources into building connections, the thought of losing the work that’s already been done can be a tough pill to swallow. Fortunately, TradeCentric can migrate an organization’s existing integrations, helping businesses that have already invested in building connections take their B2B connected commerce strategy to the next level.
Reaching the build/buy tipping point
Any organization that has built integrations with their trading partners is already ahead of the curve. They’ve taken the initial step to establish an essential foundation for scaling their integration capability.
However, as B2B integrations scale, sooner or later the business approaches a tipping point where it needs to decide whether to continue to manage integration in-house, or leverage third-party expertise to manage and scale connections.
The business may favor retaining integration in-house because it has substantial internal technical resources to support it. Additionally, companies may believe there are complexities between its eCommerce platform and buyer eProcurement platforms that require hands-on involvement with building and maintaining the integration.
While these considerations are valid, the business should also take into account factors such as
- Lifetime costs of building, maintaining, supporting and keeping compliant a growing number of integrations
- Opportunity costs and risks of maintaining its own bespoke integrations, as competitors take advantage of advances in external integration solutions
- Managing security and risk compliance in-house can be challenging due to rapidly changing regulations
Importantly, the business should also recognize that the value of the integration expertise, buy-in, and data flow knowledge it has created is not wasted in moving to a third-party solution.
Partnering with a technology provider empowers organizations to redirect this expertise to creating additional value, by taking away the grunt work of keeping integrations up-to-date, fully aligned with vendor and buyer changes, and compliant.
How TradeCentric makes integrations easier than ever
Partnering with TradeCentric helps organizations take their B2B connected commerce strategy to the next level, without wasting any pre-existing investment. This is because:
- Integration is TradeCentric’s core competency. We are 100% focused on developing, optimizing and supporting the integrations that deliver frictionless B2B eCommerce, maintaining compliance and currency across our customers’ eCommerce and eProcurement platforms.
- Continual enhancement, R&D and security are ingrained in our solutions. Companies that partner with TradeCentric automatically gain access to ongoing investments in our solution, delivering the scale and benefits that come with a platform solution.
- TradeCentric allows organizations to scale in the most efficient and effective way possible. New functions, processes and buyers can be integrated with maximum efficiency.
- TradeCentric’s analytics portal is unique to the industry. The Business Intelligence Portal gives customers actionable insights on their B2B eCommerce performance. Our total focus on integration enables us to invest in this platform at a level that individual businesses can rarely afford to access or build themselves.
- TradeCentric is your trail guide for eCommerce integration. We blend our deep and broad expertise on eCommerce and eProcurement platforms with your unique knowledge of your buyers and their dara flows, to help you navigate the right integration course for your business.
Taking eCommerce integration to the next level
Taking integration to the next level is a change management process. TradeCentric can support your business in managing the change of moving from an in-house integration model to the TradeCentric platform, providing best practice guidance and help in:
- Building the change plan – Setting goals from business strategy, and setting implementation and engagement plans
- Engaging with the team – Getting internal buy-in and commitment, and shaping the implementation
- Communicating with trading partners – Addressing buyer challenges and concerns and smoothing the path for integration