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Fax in b2b digital transformation

Ana CanteliWritten by Ana Canteli on 6 July 2018

Digital Transformation is, in broad strokes, the use of technology to improve processes, business models, optimize the customer experience, focusing attention where the customer's expectations and the business that satisfies them meet. It is how new business possibilities are detected and developed so that technology, used intensively, can radically change the role of the organization in the sector.

In the B2B (business to business) sector those organizations that maintain relations with other companies (B2B integration) with which they are linked through a website. In principle, this must allow them to control marketing and sales, the sales execution; enhance their business network, build the e-commerce platform and help them driving digital transformation properly. It also makes it possible manage the B2B e-commerce (through the online marketplaces, which facilitates sales and marketing processes), adequately manage the customer engagement, apply different marketing strategies over time, or complete the execution of B2B e-commerce approach of the company.

As we can see, digital transformation in B2B provokes a multitude of interactions in many fields that were previously related but not interconnected. The influence of customer experiences and social media in the current B2B integration trend is evident, both by the weight they acquire in the development of the company's marketing operations and by its ability to define the white paper of the content strategy of Organization. Social networks can and should be taken into account as one of the key elements in the B2B integration, as a means of communication of B2B companies that serves from articulating the digital transformation of B2B business to accelerating digital transformation.

The typical B2C (business to customer) approach does not apply to the environment of the B2B success stories. In general, users who make online purchases when they access a website are not very clear about what they want to buy. They can even initiate a purchase process, introducing their customer data, but not provide financial information as they abandon the electronic commerce process.

However B2B organizations use e-commerce market to carry out their supply chain; in general, its customer experiences are cyclical as part of their daily administrative management, and they add value to the business to business supply chains.

On the other hand, traditional faxing continues to be one of the most used means of communication in the B2B sector, as companies continue to perceive essential advantages in fax services: they are easy as it is a conventional tool; they have legal value and guarantee traceability from the sender to the final recipient.

Also in some circumstances, they can be more useful or efficient than e-mail. In the B2B integration environment, the purchasing processes usually require approval to make orders, payments or have somewhat complex billing needs. The process of receiving information by e-mail, printing it, signing it, scanning it and returning it to the recipient can be seen as a task that engages human resources in low-value tasks, which can be managed more quickly using the fax machine. Likewise, there are sectors such as medical services, insurance or law firms and even public administrations, which continue to use faxes regularly. In these sectors, professionals prefer faxing due to the facilities they provide: project managers, trading partner, the sales representative can make notes in contracts, or corrections in invoices or delivery notes, while they use the legal coverage that the traditional fax still has.

At the same time, digital transformation in B2B is still ongoing, since it is working on the key trend to increase B2B e-commerce through the company's website. Web-based platforms facilitate the customer experiences management and user experience; the human resources of the organization benefit from browsing the online catalogue and allow to know the available inventory and delivery times in real time.

The website is now seen as part of a unified B2B e-commerce platform that can capture orders from multiple channels and points of contacts.

OpenKM document management system can offer customized e-commerce environments, through the KCenter, which allows adapting the system interface to the expectations of each client, enhancing the customer experiences. Through its login and password, the B2B member of the supply chain can access its catalogue of preferences, products, and usual services, suggestions, new products and more. In addition, the new privacy policy requires that B2B companies have the chance to manage the services they want to subscribe to. Through the KCenter the organization can use OpenKM as a web content manager, updating its catalogue of products and services; creating and publishing content according to the online marketing strategy. Moreover, to have this content published on the company's social networks.

If a customer wishes to place a new order, the contact details are already filled in on the form. The order can launch an approval workflow - OpenKM includes a workflow engine -, in which several representatives participate on one side as well as on the other. Orders can lead to the automatic creation of notifications that users can receive by email and to which they can subscribe, so they will receive notices about any changes that occur in those documents. The website managed from the OpenKM document management system can be connected to other applications in the organization thanks to the Java, PHP or .NET SDKs that both the on-premise version and the Professional version include in their licenses.

However, for those who work daily with orders, inventories and delivery notes, the use of faxes continues to be a common ingredient due to the security they provide, the deep-rooted custom of customers and their ease of use. An alternative to the fax machine is fax by e-mail. It offers the same guarantees as for the traditional fax (acknowledgement of receipt, fax origin number, destination number, date and time of transmission, number of pages sent, the content of the document and positive or negative result of the transmission). Therefore, internet fax offers the same legal guarantees as for the traditional fax.

Internet fax offers an affordable and effective alternative for these purposes. It is a fax service that operates through email. OpenKM is integrated with Microsoft Office Suite, including MS Outlook. In this way, an e-mail address is associated with the fax number. Through this email account, faxes can be sent over the Internet, attaching a document that is necessary as a Word or pdf file. This attached document will be received in the recipient's fax number. In the same way, faxes that are received in your fax number will be received in the inbox of your email.

The OpenKM enterprise content management system can be used as a document manager applicable to many scanners and use cases that occur in the organization, both internally and externally, to meet the needs of our stakeholders.

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