Having the right tool for the job makes any task easier. Having the right integration technology allows you to enable your ecosystem in the most powerful way possible, both now and over the long term.
This is especially true right now as B2B eCommerce explodes in response to COVID-19. For most companies today, enabling your ecosystem means moving integration to the cloud. But in order to do this, you need choice and control over your integration technology so you can apply it to gain the adaptability and agility your supply chain requires if you’re going to remain competitive.
While companies traditionally relied heavily on EDI for exchanging supply chain information across their customers, suppliers, and logistics providers, it is no longer enough in the age of the cloud. EDI is certainly great for compliance to trading partner mandates and for automation to reduce cost. However, because all your trading partners and customers are also digitally evolving, you really need the ability to handle both API and EDI integrations from a single platform
Today’s integration specialists recognize how much faster and more securely everything moves under an API-first strategy. Yet they also realize it’s foolhardy to abandon EDI altogether since it’s so entrenched and is still the most prevalent approach for B2B integration. So having one foot in each camp is an ideal posture to take as their digital transformation unfolds.
Digital transformation can happen faster with APIs, and also enable end-to-end visibility into the integrations comprising your mission-critical business processes, such as order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, or load-tender-to-invoice. Having this visibility and control over your business processes yields faster onboarding times, fewer SLA violations, and easier access to more online marketplaces, and eCommerce sites.
Whether I am listening to customers in manufacturing, logistics, retail, wholesale, or other sectors, they already seem to know they need both API and EDI integration capability. It’s just a question of when they’ll move to the cloud, not if. Especially in manufacturing, since eCommerce is where most profit is currently being captured, API-led integration is seen as the precursor to manufacturing 4.0 and the rise of smart factories given its ability to capture online data about customer preferences. All that’s coming online fast, and that’s another reason why eCommerce with EDI alone is not a sustainable model.
Companies also need APIs, so they can go direct-to-consumer, or enable omni channel fullfillment with a Make on Demand (MOD) model if that’s the preferred busines strategy. Success could very easily come down to just how well you manage the customer experience and deliver on expectations that your customers have. But eCommerce can’t be considered front-end patchwork; it’s a thorough going solution that impacts all the backend processes within your four walls, as well as your broader, extended ecosystem.
To better understand why true, sustainable eCommerce and ecosystem integration are pretty much one and the same thing, I invite you to listen to my Keynote address from Cleo’s recent customer conference, Cleo Connect 2020 EMERGE. There I talk about why leveraging an ecosystem integration model is the best recipe for eCommerce success.
Check it out, and let’s emerge from 2020 stronger than we ever were before!