B2B integration maturity describes the varying levels of your company’s readiness to let information travel across corporate firewalls. It is a vital goal for firms to achieve. How do you know when you have reached it, or if you still have much work to do to reach integration maturity?
Benchmarking B2B integration maturity determines what milestones you have achieved and which remain further on your path. Read on to learn about why benchmarking is valuable, how to set benchmarks, and why you should set internal benchmarks as well as those relating to your peers and supply chain partners.
Why Is Benchmarking B2B Integration Maturity Valuable?
How do you know if you are doing better than your competitors, or if they are more profitable than your firm? The answer is one word: benchmarks. Benchmarks tell companies where they lead, lag, or are at the same level as other businesses.
When it comes to B2B integration maturity, benchmarking serves an important purpose. It indicates which areas firms need to improve in order to achieve greater levels of B2B integration maturity.
Benchmarks are like mile markers on a road; if you know you need to travel 1,000 miles to reach your destination, you will have to pass mile markers one through 999.
In a sense, benchmarks are similar to mile markers on a road. If you know you need to travel 1,000 miles to reach your destination, you will have to pass mile markers one through 999.
How to Set Benchmarks to Measure B2B Integration Maturity
In order to set benchmarks, you have to determine what your current level of B2B integration maturity is. Answering that question involves doing a bit of research.
For a start, figure out what EDI and/or integration tools you are using (if any). How old are they? What kind of capabilities do they have? Do they enable real-time collaboration?
For a start, figure out what EDI and/or integration tools you are using.
Second, research what data sources your company possesses that are currently integrated or are ripe for integration. ERP systems are important repositories for data, as are CRMs and other platforms that help business leaders make decisions.
Third, investigate what your organization’s technical capabilities are. What kind of technical knowledge and skills do employees possess? Are they able to carry out B2B integration projects, or would they need to bring in outside experts?
What kind of technical knowledge and skills do your employees possess?
The fourth question ties all of these points together. “Are we behind or ahead of the curve in comparison to similarly sized firms and other companies in the industry?” From there, you can begin to determine what steps you should be taking to reach the same level as the most mature firms in your marketplace.
Internal and External B2B Integration Maturity Benchmarking
There are two types of benchmarking: internal benchmarking and external benchmarking.
When most people think of benchmarking, they think of the external type, which involves comparing your firm to others in the market. That is valuable, because you can measure yourself against your competition and figure out what you have to do to catch up.
Internal benchmarking compares one department with others in the same organization.
Internal benchmarking, on the other hand, compares one department or team with others in the same organization. Why is this useful? Suppose the marketing department has successfully integrated a number of data sources into a single platform. That is an example the rest of the company should be following.
Benchmarking your B2B integration maturity level uncovers important insights about your company. You will discover how long your journey will be and what steps you must take to reach maturity. To read more about how to improve your B2B integration maturity level, download our whitepaper “Preparing Your Integration Infrastructure to Support Business Strategy" and take a moment to sign up for our blog today!