Trust is a complicated thing. When you discuss the most important factors in any relationship, whether personal or professional, trust is always at the top of any list. When you break that trust, sometimes the damage is too severe to ever truly fix. But when you have a partner that you can rely on, day in and day out, that trust is the foundation of your successful relationship. Whether you are looking to build a relationship with a trading partner or grow an internal relationship with a key stakeholder in your company, trust is critical because it is the basis for credibility.
So, what do I mean when I say credibility? Credibility for what and why is it important?
If you’ve been following this blog series – where I’ve talked about having flexibility of choice, getting the power to control your company’s integration destiny, and now developing integration credibility -- you’re starting to gain a better and more fundamental understanding of a confident integration strategy. When it comes to your customers, you need an integration strategy that delivers outcomes that truly matter to your business.
Establishing credibility begins within your own organization. Having a consistent track record of delivering integration initiatives that expand market opportunities, increase customer retention, and accelerate the time to value build credibility. No, it isn’t easy to gain this credibility. However having a credible vendor by your side to provide a mix of services and technology will empower you to support any strategy that you need.
Knowing that you have a partner that can deliver the results that matter to you and the members of your digital ecosystem is half the battle. When your customer requires a different integration requirement that you can respond to without hesitation and flawlessly handle, your credibility is grows. This can be an eCommerce expansion or a new trading partner within an existing B2B sales channel. What about those evolving file, EDI and API-based integrations with both internal and external ecosystems? Having the confidence to say, “No problem, I’ve got it covered,” and having the confidence of your stakeholders in your ability to deliver – now that’s credibility.
Overcoming Those Integration Obstacles
Imagine how rewarding it would be to know that you are enabling more customers, partners, and suppliers to confidently do business with you at any time, no matter the ask. Here lies the value of a consolidated and modernized integration platform. That trust and credibility I talked about at the start will never be more evident as you accept, transform, route, and securely connect and integrate any data type, from any source, to any target.
Does your current integration solution make it more difficult than it should be for you to get a new customer or trading partner up and running quickly? Does your vendor have a team of experts standing by to support your complex B2B integration needs? Can you control what integration tasks you are responsible for and then outsource the rest? If you answered “no” to any of these then you have major obstacles that are likely holding you back from earning credibility with your key internal and external stakeholders.
Overcoming these obstacles requires a strategy that enables:
- EDI and API integration on the same platform
- Ability to leverage self-service integration or managed services from the same vendor
- End-to-end business process visibility
- B2B expertise that is built-in to the platform (think templates, profiles, and connectors)
The four elements above will give you the confidence to profoundly reduce time-to-market and automate key integration processes so you can start doing business in a matter of days rather than weeks or months. This will not only build credibility with your internal stakeholders, but your ecosystem relationships will foster as well.
The reality is that many of your obstacles exist due to lack of investment or priority for modernizing your integration approach. Further, many organizations fail to recognize that integration is a strategic business lever, not some infrastructure that bridges different systems together. Many companies continue to rely on legacy technologies or traditional integration services that simply do not have the agility, visibility, or capabilities required to support modern ecosystems.
Think of what your customers are going to say about you when they experience a smooth, frictionless onboarding process free from delays. Imagine how your credibility will strengthen if you are able to pinpoint, in real-time, where transaction errors are occurring. Lastly, imagine the trust and credibility you will gain with your internal stakeholders if you are supporting (not hindering) superb experiences with your ecosystem.
Giving them that experience is invaluable to your business and something that every organization should strive for, whether they are a manufacturer, logistics, or wholesaler. Ecosystem integration through a modernized platform will strengthen relationships regardless of industry, and yes – build trust and credibility.