As the economy improves and B2B activity grows across the globe, what is your plan? If you are still running clunky old solutions that need an army to run and maintain then you need to make a New Years’s resolution to modernize and consolidate your B2B systems.
Why? Good question. As with every technology, solutions becomes out dated. The EDI-VANs of 1980s and standalone EDI translators from 90s are as out-dated as the first Palm Pilot. There might be a few Palm fans still using their Pilot but its not as feature rich and productive compared to modern iOS and Android devices. Its outdated but still works, so why do I need to change?
There are several arguments in favor of upgrading your B2B technology. First of all its the speed and the agility of the business. If your Customer is expecting an ASN (adv. ship. notification) document within 10 minutes of the truck leaving your premises and you are still using an EDI-VAN, good luck meeting that SLA! When the business ends up paying a hefty fine for not meeting SLAs and even worse losing a contract, you are paying a huge price for not upgrading your B2B-EDI systems.
Second argument is security and compliance. Most of the technology developed couple of decades ago does not support encryption, digital signatures and commonly used ciphers to encrypt and protect your information. Privacy regulations require companies to control access to information and your old B2B systems are most likely a red flag during compliance audits.
Third argument is visibility and trouble-shooting. When you get a call from an angry customer upset about a delayed shipment, you have no clue what went wrong. you responded to their purchase order, but they never got the confirmation. How did that happen? The EDI document generation failed but no one was notified. It was a minor error which could have easily been fixed but no one knew about it.
One can make many more arguments about accuracy, 24X7 processing, customer satisfaction which are all tied to how modern and responsive your B2B systems are. So, what are you waiting for? Make a resolution to modernize and consolidate your B2B in 2013.