When the service is in production and the first experiences have been gathered, it is time to think about expanding the service to cover your entire business network and thus achieve the business benefits that were defined at the start.
The company should draw up a program of measures to suit the selected business process (for example, purchase or sales) together with the service provider. If you are focusing purely on digitalization of the purchasing process, for example, you must draw up measures according to the number of suppliers and trade transactions. In other words, information on the amount of catalogue data that the company receives, how many orders it sends, and how many confirmations or invoices it receives per supplier. The purchasing department can then be consulted to find out whether the number of suppliers can be reduced or whether purchasing can be centralized with a smaller number of suppliers. Purchasing contracts should also be used to define electronic transactions as terms and conditions in supplier contracts.
After this program of measures has been compiled and checked, the service provider will contact the suppliers in groups, starting with the suppliers with the highest transaction volumes. The digitalization service provider will then offer various connection options to allow the suppliers to select the optimal interface for exchanging electronic transactions with the buyer. The various interfaces may include transactions exchanged through an ecosystem, direct system connections, the service provider’s API connections, portal connections or even hybrid connections where PDF messages are used to capture the message content. As the target is 100% digitalization, the service provider must adapt to different types of use.
When the contacts and the commitment of the parties have been handled efficiently and service functionality is ensured according to the targets, it will be possible to see a real change in the digital process within a few months. However, this will only happen if the organization implements new ways of working and evaluates the service according to the set KPIs.
Then all that remains is the final stage when the service is developed and it is time to consider how the new and effective process serves the organization’s business. We’ll come back to this in two weeks’ time.
The writer has fifteen years of experience in customer-focused business development, particularly electronic supply chain management, electronic invoicing, and integration and data management solutions. At OpusCapita, he is working with B2B integration solutions and for promoting digital business networks among customers and stakeholders.
››› Earlier entries in this series: A digital wedge of cranes – Successful digital business networks in five steps, Step 1: Planning and a model of what you want to achieve, Step 2: Organization and technology options and Step 3: First practical measures.