Integrations | B2B

What is B2B Integration?

what is B2B integration

B2B integration, including EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), involves integrating systems and automating data transfers between separate businesses. As the global market becomes more dynamic and interconnected, this process helps automate interactions, transactions, and communications between business partners using APIs and EDI. This increases efficiency, cuts costs, and facilitates quicker and more precise decision-making.

Why It Matters?

Businesses deal with multiple vendors, suppliers and 3PLs. For example, retailers work with suppliers to manage inventory and meet customer demand, but they also partner with logistics companies to coordinate shipping and delivery. When these businesses rely solely on manual processes (like phone calls, emails and spreadsheets) to communicate, they face a range of challenges, including:

  • Inaccurate inventory counts, pricing discrepancies or incorrect shipping addresses
  • Limited visibility into inventory levels and stock movements, leading to challenges in inventory management
  • Difficulty in onboarding new partners and expanding operations

One of the key benefits of B2B integration is that it replaces these manual processes with automation so systems can exchange data bi-directionally. By implementing a digital B2B integration platform, businesses can reduce errors, improve efficiency and drive growth.

What is a B2B Integration Platform?

A B2B integration platform is a software solution that businesses can use to connect their internal systems and applications with those of their partners, suppliers and customers. The result is a centralized “hub” that simplifies collaboration, improves productivity, and allows for faster and more accurate data exchange.

How does B2B Integration Work?

B2B integration works by creating a digital infrastructure that enables data exchange between businesses and their partners. The two most popular methods of B2B integration are Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Hybrid Integration Methods

  • Utilize both EDI and APIs
  • Combine the structured reliability of EDI with the flexibility and real-time capabilities of APIs
  • Seamlessly integrate either legacy or modern applications

Benefits of B2B Integration

B2B integration offers a variety of benefits, including:

More Efficient Processes

Digitizing time-consuming manual processes between organizations such as order processing, invoicing and inventory management is a huge time saver. An integration platform can also provide real-time visibility into supply chain processes, allowing businesses to quickly identify and fix bottlenecks to further improve efficiency.

Faster Decision Making

By enabling seamless communication and real-time data exchange between partners, businesses can make faster and more informed decisions, respond quickly to order changes and better serve their customers.

Greater Scalability and Flexibility

Unlike manual processes, B2B integration platforms can easily scale to meet the evolving needs of businesses, allowing them to onboard new partners, expand operations or accommodate increased transaction volumes.

Better Customer Experiences

Faster order processing, accurate inventory management and improved visibility into order status contribute to better customer experiences. Enhanced customer experiences drive repeat business, create brand advocates, increase customer loyalty and contribute to long-term success.

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Examples of B2B Integration

Businesses across a variety of industries are able to automate their workflows with B2B integration. Examples of how this technology can be incorporated into daily operations include:

  • Manufacturing

    When a manufacturing company needs raw materials, they electronically send purchase orders to their suppliers, who then confirm receipt and provide shipping and delivery updates automatically.

  • Retail

    When a customer purchases an item in-store or online, the retailer’s system automatically updates inventory levels and triggers reorder notifications to suppliers to maintain their stock levels.

  • Logistics

    A shipping company uses B2B integration to coordinate shipment bookings and track delivery status with its logistics partners and customers. When a customer requests a shipment pickup, the company’s system automatically generates a booking confirmation and updates delivery status notifications as the shipment progresses through the supply chain.

  • Warehouse Management

    In a B2B integration scenario involving warehouse management, automated data exchange between suppliers and warehouse systems ensures real-time updates on inventory levels and shipments. This seamless communication helps streamline operations, minimize errors and optimize stock replenishment processes.

  • Distribution

    A manufacturing company leverages B2B integration automation to share shipping schedules and delivery statuses between manufacturers. This integration facilitates timely and accurate product distribution, improving customer satisfaction and operational responsiveness.

Get Started with Jitterbit’s B2B Integration Platform

Combining the best of both API and EDI, Jitterbit’s Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) solution, Harmony, offers enterprise-grade scalability, security and governance, giving you the power to control and monitor your B2B integrations and processes anywhere, anytime.

Beyond B2B integration, Harmony provides end-to-end capabilities including application integration, API creation and management, B2B/EDI network management, and hyper-automation for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about Harmony, schedule a free trial with an integration expert today.

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Benefits of B2B Integration

What is the difference between A2A and B2B integration?

Both A2A (application-to-application) integration and B2B (business-to-business) integration are methods used to connect different systems or applications. A2A refers to the integration of apps within the same organization with the goal of improving internal processes, while B2B involves connecting apps between different organizations to improve external transactions.

Is the data exchanged through B2B integration secure?

Yes, data exchanged between partners can be secure if best practices are followed. These include using strong encryption to safeguard data during transmission, establishing explicit user security protocols and conducting continuous vulnerability management.

What is the difference between A2A and B2B integration?

Any business that engages in transactions with other businesses — such as retailers, auto manufacturers, transportation companies, travel and hospitality businesses, and more — can take advantage of B2B integration solutions.

B2B integration isn’t limited to large enterprises, either. Even small businesses can benefit from a comprehensive integration platform.


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