It’s primetime for B2B networks

by | Nov 30, 2015 | Business Growth, Industry

It’s a good time – actually a great time – to be a B2B integration provider.

Now more than ever, retail companies need a hefty hand with integration efforts like fulfillment – managing orders, shipments and payments – and are looking to entrust these functions to a B2B expert to make business run more smoothly.

According to a recent report from Gartner (subscription required), the number of companies actively using B2B networks will grow by at least 20 percent annually through the year 2020.

So, what’s driving this voracious appetite for outsourced integration? Really, it’s a slew of ongoing market drivers, including:

  • The need to replace legacy systems. For many companies, it is tough to add features to systems they’ve customized over the years. They often rely heavily on these systems for fulfillment, but adding new trading partners can take far too long in today’s retail environment.
  • The desire to innovate quickly. With the emergence of new fulfillment trends like ship-to-store and ship-from-store, comes the need for retailers to better assess their available inventory, be it in-store, at the distribution center or from a vendor. They also need to know what items are selling the best (or worst) in certain places. Analytics can greatly aid retailers and suppliers in being in more nimble and responsive to buying trends.
  • The desire to minimize complexity. A large number of businesses consider integration to be challenging, and therefore, look at outsourcing to gain access to the expertise and scalability they need to grow.

The report also recommends that businesses seeking a B2B integration solution provider should give preference to those that use canonicals to implement projects. This can substantially reduce costs, delivery times and risk because this data model simplifies item management by enabling trading partners to exchange information using a standard format. It’s also important that businesses look for the best fit for their project needs, given the wide swath of providers and their solutions, as well as determine whether they will need stand-alone or embedded services.

Retailers, in particular, should look to cloud-based technology leader SPS Commerce to handle their B2B integration needs. In fact, the recent report from Gartner calls SPS as an “e-commerce veteran,” citing a decade of integration services to retailers, suppliers and logistics providers, while also recognizing SPS as the “dominant retail B2B network.”

For more information about how B2B Integration can bolster your business and streamline fulfillment, please contact SPS Commerce.

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Jamie Thingelstad
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