There’s no better time to move your business processes to the cloud. I say this, despite the reality of IT talent shortages and increasing complexity of B2B ecosystems, because it’s precisely why mature organizations with significant B2B infrastructure usage should get support to plan their own journey to the cloud.
Here’s how enterprises can scale their business with B2B cloud integration while facing effects of an aging workforce and IT talent shortages.
Navigating the tech time warp
When I was studying IT at university, I remember some class discussions about the 5th generation programming language. Different things were said, and some future scenarios seemed like a horror story for us future software engineers. It felt that 5GL would make computers write code much faster and more efficiently than we students would ever be able to, and that was a depressing thought at the time.
It did not happen in our case. Okay, maybe partly.
Automation redefined the way we work, limiting human intervention and changing the way we create and maintain solutions. And this is not the end: Artificial Intelligence, robotics, improved connectivity, virtual and augmented reality, and other disruptive technologies are changing the future.
At the same time, many solutions and processes that were created years or even decades ago are still working and running the business today. They are often perceived as legacy, and the new generation is not interested in learning how to maintain them. This often puts businesses in very difficult situations.
IT talent shortages and a shifting IT landscape
Many skilled EDI experts will retire soon (if they haven’t already) and finding a new expert who can efficiently run operations from Day 1 is a challenge.
One of the effects of the global pandemic in recent years has been the much-discussed impact of ‘The Great Resignation’. Many organizations are now coping with the talent shortage caused by the loss of skilled and often legacy workers that have essential knowledge and can perform work that newer workers cannot (or aren’t interested in).
These days, it’s a challenge to find skilled professionals who can take care of both traditional EDI processes and modern API, iPaaS, and Cloud-driven flows.
Then, add in the fact that your company is likely already engaged in the process of digital transformation, which impacts B2B integration as well. Simply maintaining current processes is not enough: the modern B2B ecosystem requires a new approach to business operations, architecture, and processes.
Many organizations realize this and have started moving their ERP, WMS (Warehouse Management Systems), and other back-end systems to the cloud and modern API-driven processes, which is often the trigger to modernize the entire B2B ecosystem since all these systems are tightly integrated.
Another complication we often see arise is divestiture – for example, a large automotive company separates its manufacturing department for special equipment into a new entity.
The newly formed company needs to continue using a B2B integration solution, but it’s often not possible due to:
- legal reasons – they need to re-purchase the solution, and it may not be particularly straightforward;
- technical reasons – the new company can’t get access to the existing B2B ecosystem;
- lack of knowledge – most of the skilled people stayed behind with the parent company.
Whatever it is that causes this disruption, organizations are faced with a slowdown of business integration processes, reliability issues, or worse, a halt of operations. They need experts who understand traditional EDI processes and are comfortable with APIs, cloud, and other modern IT techniques.
An opportunity for new thinking
This convergence of talent shortages and shifting IT ecosystems represents an opportunity for new thinking. While API and new integration channel requirements are becoming more and more popular, and EDI usage is growing at the same time, enterprises have an excellent opportunity to solve the problem of IT talent shortages and at the same time respond to market demands today and tomorrow.
This can be done by embracing a mix of technologies like Cloud, SaaS, and API-enabled EDI and B2B integration systems. A recent McKinsey & Co. study agrees there is real value for companies that go beyond mere cloud adoption, and shows the path forward may be to advance the digital infrastructure from within.
This is certainly enticing. And we see that more and more companies are starting today to move operations into the cloud to save costs, modernize their B2B ecosystems, reduce EDI risks, open up data to suppliers, bolster productivity, and increase scale.
But all of this can take time. The issue is to engage with experts to effectively support ongoing critical operations right now.
Achieve B2B cloud integration with EDI & API integration
The transformation to modern integration technologies is a journey that requires time, resources, and a unique set of skills, expertise, and tools to successfully support current traditional EDI processes and adapt modern cloud and API-driven technologies.
The reality is many businesses can’t always make this change efficiently using only their own resources. That’s why professional services engagements are becoming an increasingly popular solution to support organizations in their journey to the cloud.
At Axway, we have a strong team of Managed Services experts to manage cloud-based EDI and API integration processes for you on the Axway B2B Integration Platform. No more searching for precious time and talent.
With Axway Cloud B2B, enterprises can:
Deploy with maximum flexibility: Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services cloud, single-tenant, private SaaS, fully managed service, multi-tenant… or even back on-premises. We help you create a consumption model that creates the best ROI for you.
Meet every need, every time: Axway is one of the very few that does data transmissions, data integration, and API security/management very well. Integration patterns like EDI, APIs, MFT, VAN are all treated as first-class citizens, and Axway’s B2B Integration platform effortlessly links all your integration networks.
Tailor your journey: all our applications are built with an API First mentality, allowing you to create better self-service consumption models. This frees up core EDI teams by enabling the lines of business to consume integration services with their own products and ITSMs.
Scale without limits: flexible resource allocation makes it easy to scale as you go. Many B2B integration providers claim they can scale without limits, but what makes Axway unique lies in our architectural technique, like supporting complex multi-cluster deployments or offering high availability, load balancing, and failover mechanisms for B2B processes and data flows. We eliminate expensive infrastructure investments.
React faster: tailored analytics detect issues early, and our open framework makes it easy for non-Axway applications and infrastructure to publish events into our data model.
Concretely, this translates into true end-to-end visibility: for example, when the EDI message is processed by the EDI solution and fed upstream to the ERP, but the ERP rejects, that is still a failure. If the middleware reports all green in the first step, that’s not truly a completed workflow. Axway B2Bi solves this.
In short, Axway provides end-to-end cloud-based B2B Integration Managed Services, streamlining EDI and API technology. Let us do the work of your B2B cloud integration so you can focus on what matters: your business.
Watch the video and contact our team to see how it could work for you.
Download our whitepaper to see why ‘wait and see’ won’t work for B2B cloud integration.