Data Powers Business to Business. If Your Partners Evolve, Can You Keep Up?
Many blog readers know of Informatica as the company that helps customers get the most value out of their data from a variety of data management products and services. One product, B2B Data Exchange has seen a recent renaissance as new data types, platforms and practices have permeated traditional B2B platforms.
Simply defined, B2B data exchange is the integration hub and exchange of operational and transactional data and documents amongst business partners. Historically, B2B E-commerce was limited to a few dominant standards such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Then the Internet and XML created a proliferation of industry sub-segments and standards. Now, big data and mobile computing have increased the proliferation with standards such as JSON and cXML.
The problem is that many B2B platforms have been in place for years and cannot handle the change and inevitable evolution of B2B exchange-related standards.
Why is this such a big deal?
Imagine you are a Business to Consumer company where your web site is seen as the face of the business and main channel from which to buy your products or services… then imagine your web site is text-based, with no product pictures and takes only Euros € and Pounds £ for payments. Obviously, this is not acceptable. Yet many businesses are making do with similar limitations in their current B2B exchange hubs.
B2B data exchange is the equivalent of the electronic face, communications hub and marketplace to the companies with whom you need to do business including suppliers, wholesalers and distributors. Other examples include electronic health records, HL7 and payer activities in healthcare, SWIFT in Financial Services, and subrogation in Insurance. And right now, many legacy B2B systems can only deal with EDI and limited data types — sometimes excluding mobile, big data, and other international features.
What are some of the success factors for a modern B2B data exchange?
- On-board partners much faster than legacy B2B solutions.
- Provide communications and integration infrastructure for all parties by providing support for all today’s relevant data types and standards
- Have flexibility to support new and evolving data types and standards.
- Be real time or near real time, and synchronous
- Be based on a fully functional Data Integration infrastructure
This is especially important because your DI foundation enables you to contribute information to other apps and for better analytics.
Since B2B exchange is so critical to your business, it makes sense to devote resources to have the right platform now, but also in the future– just as your company wants to put the resources into creating and maintaining the best web site possible. It’s also important if your partners and competitors are modernizing their B2B capabilities. If you don’t modernize to keep up, it can create major problems in your business.
If you’d like to hear more about B2B data exchange best practices, please click here to replay the Informatica Webinar featuring Philip Russom from TDWI https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/10477/199519