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b2b integration with document management

Ana CanteliWritten by Ana Canteli on 17 May 2019

Companies, even those not focused on it, become immersed in the B2B environment organically. At first, they maintain commercial relations with a few trading partners or a certain number of distributors; the same goes for customers. Under these conditions, meeting the needs of the supply chain at the same time as those of the customers feels easy and sustainable. But as the organization matures and develops, more sophisticated elements appear that make business intelligence more complex: daily management file, setting objectives, detecting threats (manage file transfer) or identifying points of improvement.

The needs of management, procurement, business process management and maintenance of the supply chain become more difficult for organizations that interact with hundreds or even thousands of trading partners in business-to-business relationships spanning five continents and involving millions of transactions. Business intelligence - BI- has never been simple, but nowadays, it is more complicated than ever, and its impact on business performance is direct and substantial. What was once a problem only to the technical departments - B2B integration - has now become a strategic aspect of the business, which directly affects the income statement and the ability of the company to provide products and services to its customers.

The challenges of the B2B integration platform

In this context, the role of document management becomes relevant to the management of business-to-business relationships. B2B integration is recognized as an excellent opportunity to improve the performance of the company; since it allows organizations to reduce costs, streamline file transfers electronically and improves regulatory compliance and risk management. At the same time, the use of document management helps to place customers at the centre of the value chain and create profitable and fruitful long-term relationships.

Today organizations continue to work with slow, manual processes that are prone to errors in relations with a trading partner. Poor inventories, delays, lack of visibility, and outdated or erroneous file transfers disorganize processes and neutralize the business intelligence of the organization. This, as a consequence, causes business partners and customers to look for another provider, simply because doing business with the current company is complicated or ineffective. That is why modernizing B2B must be considered as an ongoing process, as many organizations that have worked with a B2B integrated solution find themselves with a complicated set of mechanisms that do not address the entire spectrum of the value supply chain.

Fragmentation is common in B2B networks, so it is important not to lose sight of the challenges posed by integration in this medium:

  • Complex business networks: when some problem occurs, and it is not managed correctly, and in time, our contact opts for another provider, and the sale is lost.
  • Increase in expenses: the volatility of demand and the presence of faster-integrated, globally interconnected solutions, can cause high losses in logistics, while the pressure on costs and efficiency does not stop growing.
  • Lack of resources to implement and manage the B2B environment: first-generation business-to-business structures and disparate systems are a limit to the scalability of the integration process; that prevents the agile additions of partners and clients and easy management of large volumes of file transfers.

Benefits of B2B integration

Despite the complexity inherent in the integrated solutions of business-to-business relationships, the foundations are relatively simple:

  • Establish contact: integrate suppliers, partners, and customers in their B2B integration software safely and flexible. The OpenKM document management software offers functionalities that guarantee secure, real-time communication between the actors involved. Also, the possibility of creating new applications based on the open source technology of the OpenKM management solution, facilitates the creation of portals for suppliers and customers, guaranteeing the implementation, application, and supervision of the privacy policy.
  • Automate: process automation involves eliminating manual processing or less profitable components of a business process. In this aspect, OpenKM management software, through automation, workflows, zonal OCR, and email archiving enables the streamlining of operations and improves the performance of ICT inside and outside the organization. It also provides modules for more specific needs such as barcode reading, multi-company module, electronic invoice, etc. For more developed web environments, the document management system suite offers web services through SDK's in Java, PHP, and .NET and a complete API that allows integrating the OpenKM management system in any IT environment.
  • Collaborate: it becomes a fundamental element in solving the problem of visibility and control in real time of business processes. With OpenKM document management software, the company can work internally on the document manager, which can offer a different look & feel to each group of users, facilitating content management. All of them benefit from the use of the most relevant collaborative functionalities for each scenario.

These principles apply to a multitude of B2B interactions: selection and localization of products and services from the product catalogue compiled in the CMS OpenKM content manager and uploaded to the corporate portal; contact forms, orders, budgets, electronic invoicing, registration, and order tracking.

Advantages of B2B integration in document management

As members of B2B environments collaborate more effectively with customers and suppliers, participation in these platforms becomes more of a requirement than an option.

  • The entire value chain is managed in a customized environment in which the data is updated in real time. The updated information is correctly referenced and integrated.
  • Each user accesses their space on the system (respecting the privacy policy), which allows the members of the B2B network access to personalized and updated information (prices, orders, discounts, offers, and any other relevant information).
  • Enhances customer satisfaction and therefore, improves the loyalty ratio thanks to the ease of management.
  • Save on costs by reducing expenses in technical maintenance, minimizing manual processes, and amortizing B2B infrastructure through the consolidation of processes and provided solutions.
  • Have a higher capacity to handle peak processing times and gain competitive improvements.
  • Increase diversification and the number of partners.

OpenKM will provide your company, either as a cloud computing solution or installed on your server; the platform on which to create a sales channel to improve the control of your presence through the management of electronic commerce - online stores and social networks - and the commercial processes on the website and with other businesses.

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