This is the second in our three-part series, “Integrationists Wanted.” The series examines the essential role EDI, MFT, EAI and API specialists can play in helping to create value and competitive advantage for companies and organizations in an era of economic disruption.
Hard as it is to imagine now, last year at this time we were holding an in-person event in Columbus, Ohio, the Remedi 2019 Midwest Integration Forum.
Inspiring and forward-looking as those presentations were, no one saw the event coming that virtually overnight would change how we live and work, and how businesses manage their supply chains.
From the project outcomes we’ve observed, the companies poised for success in the aftermath of Covid-19 will do it with the support of IT, EDI and B2B integration specialists who adopt the integrationist mindset we explored in our first article in this series.
Waiting Is So 2019
Since the pandemic struck, we’ve helped clients in critical categories quickly pivot in response to major disruptions in their business models, including changes in:
- Product demand
- Established suppliers
- Distribution channels
- Preferences of B2B buyers who are likely to continue working remotely for some time and increasingly expect a seamless, online ecommerce experience
Customers and trading partners are under pressure to deliver faster; no one has the luxury or patience to put up with clunky manual transactions, process opacity, or onboarding that takes weeks and months.
Bottom line, Covid-19 and its cascading waves of disruption had accelerated the need for companies to step up their digital game and migrate to modern B2B integration tools.
To do that, they’re going to need lots of help from their IT bench.
Sorry Marketing, IT Is Driving The Brand
Sales and marketing have traditionally been where the sexy work gets done at companies, as well as the rewards the recognition that come with helping to chart the course of the brand and the business.
Yet during the pandemic, the people behind the scenes with EDI, MFT, EAI and API skills are the ones delivering the innovation that’s setting companies—and their brands—apart.
Unfortunately, these IT specialists don’t get enough credit for the magic they work under the radar and can sometimes struggle to connect what they do to outcomes the C-suite cares about.
How to Talk to Non-Technical Decision Makers
According to the B2B and Integration Director for a global wireless and broadband connectivity company (and Remedi client), “Business line leaders and financial decision-makers don’t understand technical jargon like ‘entitlements,’ ‘iPaaS,’ or ‘hybrid integration platform.”
His advice? When making your case to stakeholders, don’t focus on what the technology can do; focus on what the technology can do for the business.
For example, talk about or demonstrate how a technology investment (or experiment) can:
- Reduce manual processes/errors/time spent on non-essential tasks/customer wait times
- Improve productivity; profitability
- Allow company to pursue new opportunities
- Speed time to market
- Respond to customer needs/expectations for omnichannel, on-demand, real time visibility
Be warned, you likely won’t get everything you want right away. You’ll need to be patient and persistent.
What’s going in your favor is, we’re in an age when companies want and need fresh thinking. Don’t be shy about sharing yours.
Thinking like an integrationist helped him grow his department from a small EDI team to a staff of dozens with a full-blown DevOps shop that builds, manages and monetizes the APIs in their library.
The same mindset could help your company adapt to a radically transformed business environment and deliver a seamless digital experience for B2B and B2C customers, including on-demand purchasing with real-time pricing, inventory and tracking.
Otherwise, marketing and sales won’t be able to communicate a compelling story and help your company keep digitally-invested competitors from encroaching on customers.
The good news is, unlike the catastrophe that took out the dinosaurs, there’s still time to pivot.
Remedi Electronic Commerce Group helps companies save time and money, provide a better customer experience, and quickly respond to new opportunities using integration and B2B ecommerce strategies built for a digitally driven economy.