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Leveraging Cloud Models to Simplify B2B Collaboration

Reducing complexity in managing business-to-business integration is one of the primary challenges for IT teams. With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), social networking and big data analytics, the need to simplify partner interactions and automate processes is becoming more critical than ever. By simplifying B2B collaboration, IT can reduce costs, enhance partner and customer experiences, and leverage real-time visibility and analytics to drive business innovation.

However, B2B integration is also more complex than ever. Organizations are creating and producing more data in more formats, and integration efforts are still plagued by information and application silos that hamper effective collaboration. Regulatory requirements differ across regions and industries, and organizations cannot let security be compromised at any point in the supply chain. Compounding these challenges, many IT departments lack personnel with the requisite skills and experience to address today’s complex B2B and electronic data interchange (EDI) processes.

For numerous organizations, the answer to simplifying B2B collaboration is in the cloud. Cloud models have already proven their value in simplifying areas such as sales force collaboration and CRM. With recent advances and innovations by market leaders such as IBM, IT teams can now leverage cloud-based services to reduce the complexity of any B2B integration challenge—from managing secure file transfers to deploying a managed service model for the entire B2B network.

Addressing B2B Challenges
Using cloud services from an experienced and reliable provider gives IT teams the ability to dramatically simplify B2B integration. This is particularly critical in the current environment for two key reasons:

  • Legacy systems can’t address today’s complexity: Partner ecosystems are growing rapidly and globally. Add in the difficulties of regulatory compliance, multiple data standards, security, disparate back-office systems and many others, and you have a complicated web of challenges that go way beyond the capabilities of legacy systems. Many organizations, however, are daunted by the myriad hurdles involved in replacing these systems, so they feel stuck.
  • The growing business value of leveraging B2B collaboration: While B2B systems are becoming more complex, they are also becoming more valuable and important. By effectively utilizing B2B integration, organizations can improve sales and profits and leverage a wealth of valuable information for cognitive analytics. The amount of usable, real-time data is growing exponentially, and will continue to do so with the rise of the IoT, mobility and social networking.

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Leveraging Cloud Benefits
By working with an experienced and reputable cloud partner such as IBM, IT can simplify its approach to overcoming these challenges and exploiting these opportunities. With the right cloud supplier, IT can:

  • Simplify deployments, reduce operational overhead and, in the process, accelerate time to market across the entire supply chain.
  • Reduce costs and shift from a Capex model to an Opex model, thus making it easier for IT leaders to plan and budget.
  • Make it easier for partners and customers to do business with you, providing them with features such as self-service provisioning and support for most industry data standards.
  • Improve security and strengthen compliance capabilities, a particularly thorny complexity challenge for companies participating in a global economy.
  • Simplify the ability to leverage analytics through a cloud solution that supports centralized visibility across the entire B2B ecosystem.
  • Easily deploy new capabilities as soon as they become available, providing a competitive edge against companies still using on-premises solutions.
  • Save money on IT personnel and resources while closing the skills gap in B2B and EDI.
  • Leverage the experience and knowledge of IBM experts to manage B2B processes and enhance the company’s e-commerce strategy, among other benefits.
  • Provide instant connectivity to a trading partner community of more than 300,000 members.

Conclusion
As the amount of data grows; as companies expand their use of the IoT; and as employees, customers and partners increasingly leverage mobile apps, you can count on this: Your B2B challenges will become more complex and your B2B opportunities will continue to grow.

IT teams need to both address B2B challenges and exploit B2B opportunities. Sticking with the status quo won’t suffice—the world is moving too quickly. Failure to upgrade and modernize the B2B platform because it is too complex is not going to be a viable excuse if your company falls behind the competition or loses out on business opportunities.

Fortunately, the cloud provides an answer to B2B complexity that is comprehensive, cost efficient and simple to deploy. Please visit the links on this page to understand how your organization can leverage the cloud to simplify and enhance B2B collaboration.

For more information on how IBM’s cloud services can enhance your B2B integration efforts, please visit https://www.ibm.com/watson/supply-chain/campaigns/move-b2b

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