Improve Trading Partner Communication and Grow Your Business
As pressure to compete in the global market continues to heat up and expand, companies are finding that the more they can simplify and optimize their communications and collaborations with suppliers, vendors, and customers, the more they can improve sales, customer service and loyalty, and the better their bottom line.
When you are investing in technology to enable business partner collaboration, consider:
- What are the requirements of your trading partners? If they have a standard system that they are using, they might require that you use it.
- Volume of transactions. A higher level of automation will be needed if you process large numbers of documents.
- Types of communications. Are you sharing orders, purchasing, inventory management, alerts and messaging, among others?
- Do you need to be able to collaboratively work on items like planning data or demand forecasts along with your partners?
- The capabilities of your ERP system to import and use the data across the platform will determine the ROI of your transaction tools.
For such an initiative to be successful, you’ll have to demonstrate to your business partners the value of the system and the benefits it can bring to them. They may have concerns about controls or security, for example, that you’ll need to address.
Web. 2.0 technology is improving the speed and capabilities of available collaboration tools. These tools, such as blogs, wikis, portals, and RSS feeds improve visibility and enable real-time information exchange among several parties, as opposed to the “Web 1.0″ formats which were mostly about providing information one-way. In the Sage white paper “Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration with Trading Partners,” Senior Business Consultant Tom Heinricher writes: “A recent Forrester report found that enterprise Web 2.0 is offering substantial business value around collaboration and productivity, and it’s high on the priority list for many businesses. A McKinsey & Co. global survey of 2,847 IT executives found that 80% of respondents were either using or planning to use Web 2.0 services in the near future. Of those currently using Web 2.0, 70% were using it to interface with customers, 51% to interface with suppliers and partners and 75% to manage collaboration internally.”
What are your trading partners asking from you? Are able to meet their needs with your existing technology?