What is B2B Integration?

Manual processes are no longer sustainable in our digital and connected world, as they are slow, inefficient and prone to error. B2B (business-to-business) integration was developed to eliminate manual processes and enable suppliers and customers to exchange business documents in electronic format. It aimed to enable the ecosystems of trade partners to work and cooperate effectively together.

A basic and simple B2B integration definition would be: “automated business communication between two or more organizations”. B2B integration provides a technology architecture to improve every aspect of the way you work with customers, suppliers, and other partners.

Today’s global business ecosystem requires companies to connect, communicate, and collaborate with customers, partners, suppliers, and service vendors. Each organization takes its approach to exchanging files and messages with trading partners. This means that every business uses a different mix of systems, clouds, and applications that require different formats, B2B protocols, and security and governance considerations. B2B integration helps it communicate and seamlessly exchange business-critical information between these different technologies that cannot communicate with each other.

Why is B2B Integration Important?

With digitalization, the way businesses do business and work has changed drastically. Today, customers and business partners want to establish healthy communication and cooperation regardless of their location or the technology they use. This is possible with B2B Integration. B2B Integration is becoming very important for businesses as it facilitates and automates transactions between businesses. All this gives the business more growth, innovation, profitability and acceleration in transactions between institutions.

The Types of B2B Integration

There are two main types of B2B integration: data-level integration and people-level integration. Until this section, we mostly talked about the data level when talking about B2B integration. But it is also critically important to consider the human role of integration.

Data-Level Integration

Data level integration is automatic document exchange between external applications that can include all transactions in the order-to-cash or tender-to-invoice process. In short, it is the process of transitioning from paper to digital documents and involves automating the exchange of documents between trading partners. Connecting this level of integration using a secure protocol and converting documents so that they can be read by each commercial partner’s application requires a high degree of automation.

People-Level Integration

People-level integration enables B2B collaboration between people in different companies in business processes. This level of integration requires a variety of business partner management capabilities to manage profiles and capture and share performance-related data. Person-level integration tools that provide traceability and supervisory control, including other collaborative problems, are useful for advanced relationship management.

A good B2B integration platform provides a wide range of capabilities to achieve both types of integration.

How Does B2B Integration Work?

A standard B2B integration process has four components: Source Application, Data Format, Transport Protocol, and Target Application.

B2B integration begins with pulling information from an internal source application and transferring it to the external application through a secure data movement and integration platform. The way this data is pulled depends on the application itself. APIs provide this step for some software solutions and some solutions use traditional middleware technology. Today’s technology means one or both of these apps can be cloud-based, on-premises, or hybrid. B2B services and platform providers should support hybrid integration scenarios and cloud integration.

One of the problems encountered during document exchange is that non-standardized document types prevent communication between companies. Many industries have developed their own proprietary format and even these may vary depending on their location. Global companies need support for a wide variety of data formats so that the target application processing documents can automatically receive them and keep data flowing efficiently. Therefore, data transformation and mapping are critical in the B2B integration solution.

Trading partners must agree on a communication channel or protocol for information exchange. They usually choose the mechanism commonly used in the industry when determining a trading partner transport mechanism but the way the message is sent depends on the characteristics of the data to be transmitted. Different transportation protocols can be determined according to the characteristics of the message, but companies using B2B integration solutions that support any protocol are more advantageous in their business processes.

The last step in a B2B integration is to use the target application that can receive data sent to each other by business partners, process them correctly, and integrate them into business systems. The target application must be able to reliably convert data from the original standardized format to a format accessible across the ecosystem.

What are the Benefits of B2B Integration?

Most of the businesses establish trade partnerships with different companies. B2B integration represents the digital transformation of the business relationship established between companies. A successful B2B integration solution provides benefits, many of which were not possible before:

  • Processing time and transaction costs are reduced compared to manual methods.
  • Human-induced errors are reduced.
  • Productivity increases despite the reduction of inventory used in production.
  • Close and strong relationships are established between trade partners.
  • Performance management is improved.
  • It facilitates decision-making and action by increasing the control and visibility of B2B data.

How to Choose a B2B Integration Platform?

Here are some points to consider when using B2B assets of businesses. Let’s examine these points together:

  • The transition determines the properties that are:

Check that the platform is suitable for your and your partners’ needs and transactions. Pay attention to growth, such as how the platform will connect partners and their data, how data will be processed, how it will be provided quickly and securely.

  • Compare functions:

Compare the functions of integration platforms with each other. Decide which platform is best for you with its features and details.

  • Pay attention to compatibility:

The apps and partitions you have may be in different formats. Pay attention to the compatible production between multiple systems, partners and data of the platform you choose.

  • Evaluation of security:

The security measures taken by the entry platform are also very important. So, research what action to take for the security of the platform.

  • Monitoring and reporting feature:

It is also very important to store and report the updates and data. You need to determine how to evaluate data tracking.

  • Compare costs:

One of the important factors is which platform has fast and convenient rules. In this process, research and evaluate the use cases that need to use the best possible platform.

MIP is an IPaaS tool that has many pre-built connectors to build your B2B Integration however you want. Learn more about us!

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