Pretty much any industry expert you care to ask will tell you that
b2b integration is critical for improving organizational efficiency and increasing profit margins – but if you ask for a simple explanation of what the term means,
you’re likely to be met with silence and confusion. This is, in part, due to the fact that the subject itself is fairly complex;
trying to simplify the ideas behind integrating business to business communication would be awkward and result in a significant loss of detail.
Still, most of the definitions you can find,
either on the internet or in your conference room, are heavily laden with jargon, making it hard to wade through the buzzwords to find the straightforward meaning.
So What Is It?
In unadorned terms, b2b (business to business) integration is the passage of information from one company’s systems to another’s.
What kind of “information” that is depends on the businesses involved and their relationship to one another.
One of the easiest examples of b2b communication is between a company and its supplier.
Purchase orders, invoices, inventory lists, shipping notices, and other merchandise documentation all fall under b2b communication,
and processing all of them manually can rack up significant overhead expenses – to say nothing of the cost of resolving errors.
Using integrated b2b communication allows the company and its supplier to interface directly through their information technology systems,
so each has instantaneous access to changes made to the documents and can verify items more quickly and easily.
Why Does it Help?
When companies are able to reach beyond the literal walls and firewalls of their own business and share information with their partners,
the normal operations of their business are processed much more smoothly and with less overhead cost.
Financial institutions can share relevant data quickly and securely,
service providers can receive up-to-the-minute updates from their clients about their accounts and needs,
and orders and transfers can be handled more accurately when all the parties involved can connect directly.
This can dramatically reduce errors in deliveries and shipments that negatively impact customer satisfaction or
cause companies to lose sales resulting from desired products being out of stock.
By avoiding the need to ship back products that were delivered in error, shipping costs are reduced.
When orders and invoices are handled automatically online, it’s much easier to for a company to receive any discounts or bulk rates that their orders may qualify for.
Overall, using effective b2b integration technology solutions brings down costs and drives up efficiency in numerous arenas of corporate interaction.
How Do You Do It?
There are a variety of business to business integration technology solutions available to companies today.
Popular integration trends include SaaS (software as a service),
in which the solution provider offers a web-based platform to access the b2b communication service, rather than forcing companies to download, install, upgrade, and troubleshoot the programs on their own.
Cloud-based b2b communication solutions are also increasingly popular, as they allow secure communication and data sharing from any location,
which is invaluable for companies with multiple locations or whose employees frequently travel for business or work out of the office.
Several business technology companies offer consultations to help corporations determine which set of b2b communication and integration solutions will best suit the needs of their business.
License: Creative Commons
Marietta has always enjoyed helping out others with their business needs. She also enjoys sharing tips and tricks with others as well.