Despite technology that promises to make it easier to onboard suppliers for electronic-trading capabilities, the reality is, most companies have not had glaring success in this area.
E2open Inc., the e-hub started by IBM, Hitachi Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Seagate Technology, Solectron Corp. and Wistron Corp., announced today new functionality with its B2B Integration Solution software that is geared toward making it more of a straightforward process to onboard suppliers, partners and customers—in other words, to hook up such parties with a vendor for e-commerce initiatives such as trading documents or transacting.
At the same time, E2open is hoping to up the ante by making it easier to onboard between 50 to 500 partners—small and midsized companies in particular—at a clip.
"Were very focused on why [its so difficult to onboard partners]," said Lorenzo Martinelli, executive vice president at E2open. "One reason is its very expensive. …The No. 2 hurdle is companies that dont have any [business-to-business] capabilities. [Some] dont even have back-end systems."
To help overcome such difficulties, E2open is creating incentives for companies to build internal applications with its B2B Integration Solution, which includes a free B2B Client for self-service registration and an open-source infrastructure.
The B2B Client establishes connectivity by registering users and managing the movement of data from a companys network to E2open.
A document repository enables document-versioning management, while a mapping tool provides users the ability to map fields into their back-end systems, based on what hardware and software a trading partner is using.
A new testing tool provides a simulated test environment that eliminates the need for both parties to test transactions simultaneously until the host partys internal tests and connections are successful—which means users could have hundreds of partners going through the process simultaneously, according to Martinelli, in Redwood Shores, Calif.
Finally, a transaction-monitoring tool enables users to flag errors in live transactions, alert the appropriate people and replay any failed transactions.