The quickest achievable benefits provide a good starting point for practical measures. In the first stage, the measures should be limited to the five largest suppliers or clients, for example. The criteria used to select these partners may include total purchases, sales or invoices. The partners’ readiness to join the digital network must also be assessed. They will serve as pilot partners for the project, generating valuable information about how the entire chain works, from your business system to that of the counterparty.
During this stage, the selected technology services provider plays an important role. They must provide a management model for contacts, agreements and project implementation that is as transparent as possible. Your company and the service provider must decide how to encourage trading partners to make a commitment to the project. This commercial commitment may be a procurement term determined by the procurement organization for the purchasing agreement that will ensure the supplier is motivated to participate in the digitization project. It is also important to specify and offer various options for trading partners on how suppliers can implement technological connections. This may involve, for example, an API connection that enables suppliers to implement their connections independently by means of descriptions and testing services.
The most important project stage is testing. It involves ensuring the functionality of the connections and the entire chain through data that is as comprehensive as possible. Production can begin after the parties have ensured the functionality of the process chain from end to end. During production, the service provider ensures the functionality of the digital business network through continuous monitoring and proactively contacts all parties within the chain in the event of any interruptions.
This is the starting shot to a digital business network. Next time, we will focus on expanding services and creating added value within the business network.
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 for B2B integration solutions and for promoting digital business networks among customers and stakeholders.