It’s New Years and that means the time for resolutions. One of the projects many companies are considering for this year is building a leaner, more efficient B2B integration platform. Many companies are struggling with “high carb” environments that consist of a maze of spaghetti-like connections between enterprise applications and your business partners. The longer these high carb environments remain in place the more weight your B2B platform takes on. The weight not only slows you down, but could lead to long-term health consequences for the business if not corrected.
How Do Companies Get Hooked on High Carb Diets?
Second Course of Applications – You have 50 or more enterprise applications – ERP, CRM, Warehouse Management and Treasury Workstations – which are the source or target of a B2B exchange. Forecasting, purchasing, logistics, inventory and payment data must be extracted from these applications then repackaged into standardized messages.
Fatty Middleware – You use six to eight middleware platforms to connect to your enterprise apps to the outside world. Why so many? Some are the result of recent mergers after which the IT systems were never fully integrated. Others were the result of a desire to empower local regions to operate independently. There are lots of legitimate reasons why this happens.
Gluten-Rich FTP – You have 233 AS2 and FTP connections to customers and suppliers. “The sales guy from the FTP company told me direct connections would save money on VAN fees, but they didn’t tell me all the time my people would have to spend managing them.” Does this sound familiar? Direct AS2 and FTP connections do save money, but it is difficult to scale more than a handful of these.
High Fructose VANs – You have five different VAN providers to maximize your reach to customers. “And we are also still connected to that dot-bomb B2B marketplace our CEO invested in back in 1999.” Customers switch on, off and between VAN providers creating a tracking nightmare.
LOB Smorgasbord – The accounting groups in each different European country went out and signed up with local e-invoicing providers. Treasury picked its own SWIFT Service Bureau. Transportation selected its own SaaS-based Logistics application. Sales signed up with a Point of Sale analytics company. Now you have 15 different specialized vendors to handle B2B exchanges for each different function.