Upside on B2B: Phase II:
A key challenge for B-to-Bs in this new phase will be integration at different levels. Most of the action has been in business-to-employee (B-to-E), knowledge management, collaboration, and data integration. But B-to-B is also a fertile area for process integration, which focuses on better communication with partners, customers, and suppliers. Companies like I2 Technologies, Oracle, and SAP AG are now offering end-to-end buying and selling to marketplaces and collaboration capabilities. Their ultimate goal is to figure out the demand and then make it so easy that, by simply pushing a few buttons, a company could produce manufacturing instructions, sourcing instructions, and pricing.
This so-called collaborative product commerce (CPC) enables all potential partners in the value chain to receive the right information at the right time, so that they can make more educated decisions and reduce costs and time to market. With CPC, the long-held hope of creating communities of trading partners that, through B-to-B business processes, are able to collaborate on process design, inventory, forecasting, insurance, procurement, and other business functions is becoming increasingly real.