As an IT service provider, it can be a constant struggle to accommodate ever-developing tools and processes across your B2B service management ecosystem, particularly when it comes to customer integrations. When onboarding new customers and their technologies, there are real two-way constraints of technical limitations and willingness to get on board with new solutions.
It can also be a challenge to convince customers to consider more effective ways of using and integrating the tools they use internally, or perhaps even the tools that you share as part of the B2B service process (we'll get to tool sharing later
In this post, we'll discuss how B2B integrations are done in modern service delivery environments, how to communicate the value to customers, and how your business can benefit.
What is B2B integration?
Business-to-business (B2B) integration is the business process automation, connection, and communication between organizations.
In short, it helps parties work and collaborate more effectively with their partners, suppliers, and customers — regardless of the tools and applications each party is using.
When customers think of a B2B integration software or solution, there are often misconceptions:
- They may think you're just trying to dress up a very manual and laborious project of coding up some API’s, or
- They know what a challenge connecting APIs manually can be, and they want to avoid it.
To get customers on board, it’s far better to approach integration from the perspective of people and process, than it is technology.
By first asking questions about how people work, how they pass information and tasks from one team or function to another, then offering simple multi-vendor integration solutions to those examples, you can then scale up your explanation of what great service integration could do for them.
Many people confuse software integration and service integration, so by removing technology from the initial discussions, you create a far better opportunity of winning their enthusiasm for integration.
Success story: AHEAD needed a solution that would seamlessly integrate not just ServiceNow and the end customer, but also their monitoring solution, LogicMonitor.
Why B2B integrations are necessary for IT service providers
B2B integrations allow you to unlock time, efficiencies, and data blocks in your own and your customers' work.
As modern integration solutions come with impressive automation benefits and new ways to centralize the way data is exchanged between multiple teams and technologies in real time, it opens up a wealth of new possibilities for the organization itself.
From the point of view of integrating your own tools with your clients, suppliers, or business partners, the first and finest example is being able to quickly connect your service desk tools to theirs, without having to mess around with APIs and custom code.
This is something that has frustrated MSPs and their clients alike for years, but with modern developments in centralized integration hubs (also known as Integration Automation Platforms or B2B integration software), this is now actually a very easy implementation.
However, you still need to convince your clients it’s worth investing in!
How to easily get customers on board with integration projects
You know what? Modern customer integration projects aren’t even projects at all — they're small, incremental changes that improve the efficiency and collaboration of a service provider and their customers.
By approaching this as one application, one process, one set of data at a time, you can make progress toward the overall objective of improving the way people work over time.
By introducing integration as an agile incremental change, you can relax the shared pressures of having a glorified end-state and deadline to work to, and instead frame it as more of a retained service, which improves exponentially over time.
How to overcome common objections
As mentioned above, many organisations have bad experiences with technical integrations going wrong and having long-lasting negative effects. This can be overcome by zooming in on the problems they face and asking pragmatic questions about what sort of integrations they would like to have in place, which actually solves the problem rather than exacerbate it.
From there, you may come across objections like:
- the project timelines are too long
- the outcomes are too unpredictable
- the hangovers of ‘bug fixing’ of failed integrations are too painful
At ONEiO, our Integration Automation platform is purpose-built to sidestep these common issues.
How? Well, since ONEiO endpoint types are pre-built, all integrations are configured through an interface, rather than with customized code. Not only that, but we use many-to-many connections, meaning that once an integration is set up, any number of further B2B or internal integrations can be added at any time, without hassle.
Using case studies of working examples within platforms such as ONEiO, is an excellent way of demonstrating what is possible today and removing concerns created by old-fashioned integration methods.
Start as you mean to go on
As we say, modern service integrations are on-going and incremental — by gradually adding more platforms, more B2B processes and expanding the amount of data and information, which is shared across the ecosystem of a business.
Laying out a roadmap, which looks and feels more like a growing approach to improving the way the client’s business is far more appealing than yet another project plan for something that may or may not work.
Focus on easy wins early on that quickly enable people in the businesses to work faster and smarter, then presenting back an approach you would like to use to scale up that success is a great way to help customers feel confident and secure in their decision.
How your B2B integration ecosystem could look with ONEiO
A B2B integration ecosystem, or service management ecosystem, is exactly what it sounds like — a living, breathing network of people, tools and processes that make up the delivery and management of IT services.
Service delivery doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Generally, IT Service Providers coordinate information between one or several of the following parties to provide a service:
Vendors, suppliers & subcontractors
Internal customers and their own internal integration needs
In the traditional approach to integration, you might be working with custom built point-to-point integrations, iPaaS platforms, an Enterprise Service Bus, using portals, or buying licences for your customers' systems to get the job done.
In the Your Ecosystem approach with ONEiO, each party can simply continue working with their preferred tools and processes — all the while, information is flowing multi-directionally between them.
Managed Service Provider Case Study: TietoEvry simplifies its integration process with ONEiO's integration automation platform
Benefits of a B2B integration ecosystem using a best-of-breed integration automation platform
1. Better collaboration — work more effectively between internal teams and your customers
2. Reduced time to value — with ONEiO, you'll reduce customer onboarding time from months to days.
3. Save on ITSM software licence costs — when all parties use their own tools, there's no need for your customer support teams to swivel chair, and no need for extra licence costs.
4. More time for creating value — MSP's save on average 1300 work days caused by manual ticket handling
Let us create Your Own Ecosystem
ONEiO redefines efficient integrations for IT Service Providers.
Imagine delivering service integrations with no more technical complexity, no more manual integrations - but integrations which are easily repeatable, guarantee fastest time to value and require zero maintenance.
To get there, ONEiO has not only built an integration automation platform, but we make sure that all your integrations work, all of the time.
That’s it. You don’t need to build any kind of integration yourself, and we ensure that tools and services stay connected. Simple.
Let us show you how simple creating your ecosystem can be. Get in touch with us for a no-strings-attached assessment call.