It’s no secret that as we approach 2019, companies must be easy to do business with. Your customers and trading partners are just as busy as you are, and they don’t have the time, money, or patience to wait on connecting and transacting.
One of the first things a company can do to ensure a smooth working relationship with its customers and partners is to have an easy and efficient onboarding process. Companies without a successful and efficient onboarding plan will find that potential customers are leaving for their competition without any hesitation. Additionally, the sooner you get your customers and trading partners onboarded, the quicker you are able to turn a profit and make money.
If any customers or trading partners describe your partner onboarding processes as slow, complicated, or challenging, odds are you have an onboarding problem. So, how can you remedy that, improve your onboarding, and become easier to do business with?
What is Partner Onboarding?
For the purposes of this post, we are going to focus squarely on the process of onboarding your trading partners. The ultimate goal of partner onboarding is for a business to get an external trading partner connected quickly and accurately. Onboarding refers to things like the configuration of a partner’s EDI profile and building out the necessary maps to send and receive data.
Besides jeopardizing sales opportunities and costing your company business revenue, inefficient trading partner onboarding can put your existing relationships at risk if data exchanges and standards are not implemented correctly. Companies that have a partner onboarding process that doesn’t run seamlessly might learn that the problem is often rooted in their reliance on manual workflows.
A business that lacks dynamic B2B integration tools will also the capabilities needed to easily onboard a trading partner. And as a business ecosystem grows, that business will rely more on custom code to integrate those new connections, which leads to difficult and diverse integrations that prove challenging to manage. The resulting lack of standardization and templatized onboarding leads to a hodgepodge of cumbersome workflows for every new trading partner.
When your business upgrades its integration capabilities, it simplifies its onboarding processes and becomes that much easier to do business with. So, what integration capabilities do you need to gain credibility and achieve “preferred vendor” status?
Become Easier to Work With
Every one of your trading partners is going to have different needs that you must deliver, and it’s important that modern enterprises leverage multi-protocol support, pre-built project templates, and enhanced visibility to accommodate those partners and optimize the relationships.
1. Supporting Multiple Protocols
As an example, let’s say you currently have an AS2 client, but you must onboard a new trading partner using SFTP or HTTPs. If your current platform is incapable of supporting SFTP or HTTPs, then you might need to invest in another piece of software or module simply to support that one trading partner. And this is only going to happen again and again, as you add more trading partners into your ecosystem.
The better approach is a single integration platform that comes preloaded and preconfigured to support all the advanced protocols you might need to support from a trading partner. The platform also should come with a library of pre-built connectors to all major trading hubs, so all the heavy lifting is already done for you. No longer will you have to continue to purchase expensive software order to support a different protocol; you’ll have each at your fingertips.
2. Using Pre-Built Templates
If you have limited data transformation capabilities, that leads to a negative chain reaction. Without the proper data transformation tools in place, then odds are you are customizing integrations, which then means you are unable to easily re-use them. Unfortunately, this also takes quite a bit of manual mapping that is very time consuming and arduous. And that’s only when you have a couple of trading partners, let alone hundreds or even thousands.
The best way to avoid this scenario is to partner with a vendor that offers data transformation tools that swiftly enable the reuse of partner profiles and automate data migration from the partner to you. By taking advantage of a flexible data transformation solution that supports any manner of data format, you are able to automatically generate and customize any and all integration projects. This allows you to quickly build out even more complex transformation initiatives in a shorter amount of time.
3. Increasing Visibility
Transparency is key in the onboarding process because it forms the very basis of data insight that will drive your business efficiency for years to come. In order to maintain healthy and successful relationships with your trading partners, it is essential that you have a high level of visibility throughout the onboarding process.
Data visibility, for example, that is delivered via monitoring, reporting, and alert notifications is a good way to keep all major stakeholders apprised of critical transactions. Additionally, it provides faster issue resolution, since one-off, decentralized integrations simply do not offer comprehensive reporting tools.
If you are ready to take your visibility one step further to streamline your trading partner onboarding processes, a next-generational integration tool will reward you immensely. These tools provide real-time visibility through customized dashboards that deliver real-time monitoring and reporting so everyone who needs to know is aware of any challenges affecting your revenue-driving business relationships.
Building Relationships for the Future
Being able to bring on new trading partners quickly and efficiently is an invaluable asset that will position your business as one that’s easy to do business with, which will deliver exponential benefits far into the future. Sure, there will always be a certain level of configuration and integration you must adjust, but a single integration platform will have you interacting with your important B2B partners faster than your competition.
Learn more about how to reduce manual intervention in onboarding trading partners and the integration platform that will help your business reduce errors, expedite business gains, and improve ROI.