B2B Communications: Part One – Enabling Global Commerce


Having a robust B2B communications strategy and infrastructure has become critical for B2B business success. The right strategy and infrastructure provide the flexibility to transact business with any and all new customers the way the customer wants it. It provides timely visibility into the supply chain across order-to-cash and purchase-to-pay (P2P) processes while streamlining logistics and global trade.


This article is an excerpt from the report:
Business Transformed: B2B Communications Hold the Key for Success in Today’s Economy

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here.

This is the first in a three-part series on B2B communications, processes, and technology.

Introduction: World in Transition

You can read more about this project HERE.

Our global economy operates in networks of business relationships driven by a myriad of complex processes. This web-based marketplace has created new models of competitiveness, catalyzing an urgency for enterprises and their trading partners to collaborate in new and profound ways.

Organizations have to execute both globally and locally with the same precision. Supply chains are stretched across the globe, yet customers expect precise delivery windows right to their door. Governments are demanding digitized and accurate data as goods move across borders. Intermediaries want precise to the hour — the minute — information so they can manage the many services and hand-offs required for effective supply chain management.

Executives have spent countless hours and millions of dollars fretting over their enterprise solutions. However, scant attention has gone into the technology we rely upon to operate with our trading partners: B2B communications. In most firms, this is often outmoded or, at best, incomplete. Now that has to change. Though Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the major glue utilized today (as well as vast custom system-to-system integration programs), the job is incomplete.

The world of information technology is rapidly evolving. Within today’s networked economy are rich information networks that are supplanting the old, limited-in-scope, and difficult-to-integrate enterprise technology. Supply chain technology networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as mobile and social integration are now expected as part of the modern “glue” that holds the chain together. These networks can manage ecosystems of partnerships that explode with information that we are only beginning to understand and leverage.

But first, business executives need to re-insert themselves into B2B communication strategy and understand how it can help them achieve the next level of competitiveness. And IT needs to educate and ignite their attention to ensure that B2B communication is a priority.

We will explore the world of B2B communications in this paper and the modern processes that are driving today’s virtual, outsourced and webbed world, driving a new generation of customer expectations and trading partner requirements. We will highlight the B2B technologies that can help achieve exceptional collaboration and competitiveness.

Enabling Global Commerce

Is your business commerce ready to do business with any and all new customers — the way they want it? Do you have timely visibility into your supply chain across your commercial processes such as order-to-cash and purchase-to-pay (P2P)? Are your processes and systems geared for real-time to reduce risk and take advantage of opportunities that materialize? Critically, logistics has taken center stage for many, requiring integration and visibility with carriers and logistics service providers. And what about global trade? Today, governments, customs, and logistics service providers need all the data as early and accurately as possible to secure capacity, reduce operating costs, and ensure frictionless border crossing.

Source: ChainLink Research
Figure 1 – Leveraging the Key Areas

Tony’s Chocolonely

Expanding internationally is a challenge for most firms. “Electronic communications standards are different in North America and Europe,” pointed out Frans Pannekoek, who is responsible for the Supply Chain at Tony’s Chocolonely. Thus, they required a global platform to manage global communications-from suppliers and logistics providers through to retail channels. Their Descartes GLN deployment allowed them to “implement the new protocols and message sets to effectively communicate with our international retail and distribution customers in the USA.”

In Part Two of this series, we look at these core operations and see how they are transforming. We examine B2B communications’ role in automating commercial processes, streamlining logistics and global trade, and% modernizing intercompany product data exchange.

To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.

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