What We Learned About Cloud, API, and B2B Integration Strategy at Cleo Connect
Cleo recently held its annual customer event outside Chicago, hosting nearly 100 representatives from more than 50 companies throughout the three-day summit.
Cleo Connect is designed to be an interactive experience for customers to engage with Cleo executives and learn more about Cleo and its commitment to solving the world’s integration and data movement challenges. With a theme centered on complete and flexible B2B integration, the event offered attendees product and industry education opportunities, an interactive customer panel, and networking sessions, all supporting the goal of better understanding the integration landscape of business today.
Mark O’Neill, research director at Gartner, gave a presentation during the event detailing his latest research, titled “Master B2B Ecosystem Integration with a Blended EDI and API Approach.” He discussed how APIs complement many B2B interactions and will keep being used in combination with existing B2B technologies, such as managed file transfer (MFT) and EDI.
This point was well-received. We often hear from customers that they aren’t always certain of exactly what technology they should be using. IT teams are barraged from the business units with the next big buzzword to implement (big data, IoT, APIs) while trying to simply manage their current B2B workflows.
Mr. O’Neill’s research illustrates the cumulative nature of B2B, where each new B2B innovation simply adds a new channel to the mix. Just because a business leverages an API for certain applications doesn’t mean it will phase out AS2 communications among its trading partners.
The reality is, B2B integration is a collection of protocols, formats, technologies, and data use patterns that will evolve. Choosing pieces to deploy and where to deploy them depends on how well an organization – and its vendors – understand its processes, security needs, resources, and business objectives.
A few other notable items we wanted to share from Cleo Connect:
• Digital business transformation is real, and companies slow to leverage B2B integration to “digitally remaster” will be slow to compete. Leveraging digital applications for automation is a prerequisite for doing business in the 21st century.
• Value is created or destroyed at the “edge,” which is defined as the digital threshold where companies interact. A complete and flexible B2B strategy to reliably enable these communications will deliver tangible competitive differentiation.
• There are so many influencing factors for cloud strategy today – including corporate strategies, on-premise investment, resource availability, and security and compliance needs – that it’s almost always a combination of factors (rather than just one) that determines when and how to leverage cloud solutions.
If there’s one additional thing we learned from the week, it’s that we have some of the world’s greatest customers. We want to thank everyone who attended Cleo Connect 2017, and we’re very grateful to deliver solutions that help power and grow some especially inspiring businesses.