More organizations are investing in business-to-business electronic integration (B2Bi) to cut costs and increase business flow efficiency, according to a survey of more than 200 organizations by the University of Tennessee's Global Supply Chain Institute and integration provider DiCentral.
Of those surveyed, 94 percent saw significant improvement in their electronic connectivity capabilities and 68 percent reported that their clients said they were easier to do business with after using cloud-based B2Bi managed services.
Another finding suggests that the opportunities for streamlining processes offset the resources to achieve it, as increased pressures on internal IT departments to meet core business objectives can lead to potential gaps in knowledge and technology.
Ninety-six percent of those surveyed said they are linked electronically in some way with at least one of their trading partners, yet the average organization spends just over 5 percent of its IT budget on electronic connections. Electronic connections are expected to increase more than 20 percent over the next three years, and 69 percent of those surveyed said that they intend to increase the number of customers they trade with electronically.
Although B2Bi has been around for more than 30 years, many of those surveyed felt that considering the proliferation of the Internet of Things and cloud-based applications, it is still in an early stage—especially globally. Technology integration tools are widely implemented in some industries and sparse in others.
The study provides a framework for developing a strategy for technology-enabled collaboration and includes a self-evaluation to determine how well organizations are using technology to collaborate with their suppliers and customers, as well as a checklist for selecting a third party to manage electronic transactions.
The study encompassed a quantitative survey of more than 200 professionals from a wide range of industries including consumer products, retailers, discrete manufacturers and process manufacturers. Companies ranged in size from $50m to more than $2bn.