IDC survey reveals B2B integration priorities
to drive organizational growth
By now, it’s clear that businesses feel the pressure to focus on supply chain optimization and improve their B2B integration investments. But where to begin? In a previous blog, I reviewed the results and opinions of IDC and Gartner and outlined some suggestions on achieving higher levels of supply chain maturity. In this blog, I’ve pulled just the North American survey data as an example of what B2B integration priorities your counterparts in this region are focused on. If you’re interested in other regions, data from EMEA and APAC respondents is also available within the full IDC report, Next-Generation B2B Integration Enables a Digital-First, Resilient Supply Chain.
Benefits of B2B integration for organizational growth
Beginning with the expected benefits of B2B integration, it’s not surprising that IDC survey respondents cited cost-cutting as a major focus in these times of inflation and recent layoffs. Organizations understand that a key benefit of B2B integration is a reduction of operational costs by removing manual processes and unnecessary work tasks, enabling companies to automate, reduce hiring, and move current staff to more valuable jobs.
Unlike other regions, North America is unique in its strong focus on customer satisfaction (again, you can compare regional differences in the full report here). This is likely due to shortages and unreliable supply troubling this region in recent years. We also see speed in the form of faster time to market and improved turnover rate, which goes hand-in-hand with heightened customer expectations and increased pressure to improve predictability, timeliness, and speed in general.
Priorities of B2B integration to boost digital transformation
When asked which supply chain transformation and B2B integration initiatives should be prioritized, survey respondents cited wanting to improve integration with ERP and supply chain systems as their top priority, followed closely by improved collaboration with suppliers and better use of demand data. These priorities seem sensible in the current context: by streamlining both internal and external data processes and by strengthening supply chain visibility and insights of demand data, companies would fare better in an environment which is both disruptive and lacking in sufficient skilled personnel.
Supply chain optimization and B2B integration barriers
Unfortunately, the challenges that drive the need for supply chain optimization, are the same challenges that form barriers to implementation. As the IDC results outline, the complexity of supply chains is viewed as the main barrier keeping companies from better integrating their B2B processes, while complexity is also one of the reasons companies are trying to improve their B2B integration in the first place. Similarly, the overall shortage of personnel resources and competing IT projects within organizations form both a barrier and the motivation to pursue supply chain optimization and digital transformation goals.
The IDC survey responses reveal that companies’ main challenges are both the reason to prioritize supply chain optimization, and the main reason those efforts have remained aspirational.
Overcoming barriers of B2B integration
While most agree that supply chain optimization should be a priority, given the complexity of supply chain integration and competing priorities, the precise path to get there is daunting for most. IDC offers some good advice: companies do not have to go at this alone. Companies should seek vendors with not only the technical B2B integration capabilities but also with established B2B expertise that augments a business’s own IT department, to speed up a company’s transformation initiatives for a more resilient supply chain.