Ever since the financial services industry meltdown and the subsequent worldwide recession I’ve had frequent conversations with our clients and various B2B integration software and services companies i cover about the opportunities for B2B integration the next 18 to 36 months.
One take-away from all these discussions is that despite cautious spending in this economny companies across all industries are still investing in B2B modernization projects. Investments include simplifying and improving the way they do B2B integration — for example, using community management and visibility to drive B2B process improvements (to reduce costs and drive growth).
On Friday I was chatting with Greg Faubert – CEO of Messageway Solutions – about the barriers to successful implementation of B2B integration projects and – shooting from the hip – I claimed that “the only barriers to successful B2B projects are politics and ignorance”.
But my point was that technology itself isn’t usually a barrier anymore. It might have been five years ago, but not anymore. Whether you’re still using EDI or SOA, doing traditional ecommerce or Cloud computing, there are plenty of B2B products and services availabile to help. Rather than technology, the barriers to success for B2B projects are usually non-technical, such as internal politics (IT group in-fighting and no shared B2B strategy), unrealistic expectations (trying to force one method of B2B onto customers — good luck), or simply ignorance (unaware of innovations like Cloud governance or packaged integration).
Similar barriers to success impact higher-order IT initiatives such as SOA and BPM initiatives, so perhaps its no surprise that B2B integration projects have similar challenges. Yet I still have quite a few conversations with companies who aren’t aware of the opportunity to succeed in B2B. No, not every technical challenge has been resolve (e.g., ubiquitous authentication – *sigh*), but, really, your challenges are less likely technical and more likely politics and ignorance — no friends of B2B.
I welcome your comments.