Develop a Comprehensive Business-to-Business Integration Strategy

Strong partnerships require seamless integration; don’t let lagging integration capabilities undermine your B2B relationships.

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Your Challenge

  • The business is placing an increasing amount of pressure on IT to accommodate additional trading partners and data exchanges.
  • Despite the recognized importance of enhancing business-to-business (B2B) integration capabilities, many organizations struggle to define a strategy that will meet business and IT needs while providing a cost-effective solution.
  • IT often finds itself in a challenging situation uncertain of best methods and practices for leveraging people, process, technology, and data. 

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • There have been drastic changes to B2B reference architecture. There are new applications and cloud-based services that have emerged to simplify B2B integration. It may prove to be less expensive and strategic to take advantage of a B2B managed service provider rather than attempting to enhance your on-premise B2B capabilities.
  • Businesses need to reposition themselves, and their B2B strategy, to take advantage of the emerging API economy. 

Impact and Result

  • Create a comprehensive strategy to allow your organization to reduce costs while increasing profits through seamless integration and real-time transactions.
  • Enhance efficiency by having clear, end-to-end visibility of your processes and with your trading partners.
  • Align IT with business needs from the beginning of the project to create and deliver a B2B integration strategy that is capable of scaling with business growth.
  • A fit-for-purpose strategic roadmap will assist in seamless integration with key trading partners.
  • Leverage best practices for trading partner management to achieve enhanced trading partner relationships. 

Contributors

  • Informatica
  • Corix Group 
  • KS Plastics
  • Interswitch 
  • IntegrationWorks

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Get to Action

  1. Structure the project

    Determine the B2B strategy goals, objectives, and scope, and identify the project participants and assign roles.

  2. Gather the requirements

    Derive B2B requirements from business goals and objectives, specific data exchange standards of trading partners, as well as people, process, technology, and data components of the future state.

  3. Identify solutions

    Determine the gaps between current and future maturity, and review and assess solution alternatives for people, processes, technology, and data.

  4. Create the strategic roadmap

    Select and prioritize B2B integration initiatives.

  5. Make the business case

    Effectively sell the value of a B2B integration strategy to obtain approval to proceed with implementation.

  6. Implement the B2B integration strategy

    Learn how to communicate initiatives with stakeholders that will be affected by change.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a five call advisory process.

  • Call #1: Structure the project

    Establish the rationale for building a B2B integration strategy and structure the project: validate scope, stakeholders, assumptions, and constraints, and set metrics to measure success.

  • Call #2: Requirements gathering

    Discuss the business goals and mapping them to IT objectives. Review partner survey results and look for opportunities for more integration with partners. Review the results of the trading partner protocol inventory and help segregate partners. Review the results of your B2B integration maturity assessment.

  • Call #3: Solution identification

    Review results of the current state maturity assessment, and interpret gaps between current and target states. Review solution alternatives available to fill gaps. Discuss insource, outsource, and hybrid implementation alternatives.

  • Call #4: Solution selection and roadmap development

    Review results of the TCO calculator and implementation alternative selection. Assist with definition of implementation and migration initiatives to move from current to target state.

  • Call #5: Review business case and implementation plan

    Review the business case and provide insight into selling the case to senior management. Assist with plans for securing resources, communicating initiatives, and implementing the strategy.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Project Rationale and Structure

The Purpose

  • Understanding why the project is important.
  • Alignment of business drivers with issues and pain points.
  • Identification of project goals, scope, risks, participants, and metrics.
  • Identification of stakeholders.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Set the context of a B2B integration strategy within your organization.
  • Gain approval to move ahead with the project.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Determine business impact of B2B integration
  • Understanding of business impacts
1.2 Define drivers for improving B2B integration
  • List of improvement drivers
1.3 Identify B2B integration pain points
  • List of pain points
1.4 Define project charter inputs
  • Completion of Project Charter
1.5 Identify stakeholders
  • Identification of stakeholders
1.6 Identify stakeholder communication style
  • Identification of stakeholder communication styles

Module 2: Gather B2B Integration Requirements

The Purpose

  • Understand your partners and how they integrate.
  • Define B2B integration objectives that align with business goals.
  • Identify the characteristics of our target maturity state.
  • Uncover patterns in B2B requirements.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Ability to recognize immediate opportunities for improvement. 

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Update Trading Partner Inventory Tool
  • List of trading partners, their data types, protocols, and trading standards
2.2 Create partner context diagram
  • List of trading partner requirements
2.3 Tailor interview guide
  • Ready-to-use stakeholder interview guide
2.4 Conduct a mock stakeholder interview
  • List of stakeholder goals
2.5 Map business goals to strategic objectives
  • List of strategic objectives
2.6 Identify desired maturity state
  • Desired maturity state
2.7 Identify immediate integration opportunities
  • Identified integration opportunities

Module 3: Identify B2B Solution Alternatives

The Purpose

  • Identification of your current state and the gaps to fill in order to reach your desired target state.
  • A thorough understanding of all solution options and deployment alternatives available.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Fit-for-purpose strategic roadmap containing prioritized initiatives to reach target maturity state.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Identify your current B2B maturity
  • Current B2B maturity
3.2 Conduct a gap analysis
  • Gap analysis
3.3 Facilitate discussion around alternative solutions
  • Recognition of solution alternatives
3.4 Determine total cost of ownership
  • TCO calculation
3.5 Create initiatives
  • Strategic roadmap

Module 4: Make the Business Case

The Purpose

  • Show the business value generated from a B2B integration strategy.
  • Develop a communications plan.
  • Decide how to measure the strategy to determine success.
  • Determine authority and who can make changes to the B2B strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Define best methods and practices for communicating initiatives and changes with stakeholders.
  • Establish metrics.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Determine business value of B2B integration
  • Make the business case
4.2 Learn to communicate initiatives
  • Communication plan
4.3 Establish metrics
  • Implementation metrics
4.4 Determine the governance structure of your strategy
  • Governance strategy

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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Search Code: 74117
Published: January 23, 2014
Last Revised: August 19, 2014

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