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Fast and Scalable B2B Automation with a Managed Integration Layer

A managed gateway encapsulates and abstracts the complexity of B2B integration, providing a path to fast and scalable punchout catalogs and B2B automation.

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B2B automation has the power to transform a business’s supply chain relationships, reducing manual errors, facilitating cost savings, and ensuring the seamless flow of information between buyers and suppliers. There are two ways to automate data exchange between buyer and supplier platforms: the ad-hoc strategy and the integration layer strategy.

b2b_automation_blog.jpgThe ad-hoc strategy is familiar to many B2B buyers. A top-line supplier is chosen for integration, and the buyer works with the supplier to make it happen. The ad-hoc strategy uses custom integrations to bridge incompatible eCommerce and eProcurement platforms, a process that involves long lead-times and significant demands on the supplier. Once the project is complete, the data flows, but the integration is not scalable to suppliers with different platforms, so when the buyer wants to integrate with another supplier, the process is repeated.

The alternative to an ad-hoc integration strategy relies on an integration layer, often referred to as a gateway. The integration layer — a managed cloud service — sits between the buyer’s eProcurement platform and the seller’s eCommerce application. It ingests data from both sides, carries out any necessary processing and data transformation, and then sends the data on to its recipient.

A gateway provides abstraction and encapsulation. There are thousands of possible combinations of eCommerce applications and eProcurement platforms, but users of the gateway don’t have to be concerned with that. Their platform has to talk to one end-point, the gateway, a “black box” software service that encapsulates the inherent complexity of B2B automation.

To take a concrete example, suppose your company, as a buyer, wants to automate data exchange between its Jaggaer eProcurement platform and a supplier’s Magento store. You might drop a pile of documentation on the supplier and help them through the process of building a custom integration. Or, you could connect via the PunchOut2Go Gateway.

PunchOut2Go supports Jaggaer and hundreds of other eProcurement and spend management platforms. We also provide a Magento extension that suppliers can use to hook their store up to the Gateway, as well as packaged solutions and connectors for any eCommerce platform such as BigCommerce, SAP Hybris, Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud, custom and homegrown platforms, and more. The result: seamless data transfer for punchout catalogs and order automation for purchase orders, invoices, and more.

The abstraction and encapsulation provided by the PunchOut2Go Gateway have many advantages over ad-hoc integration:

  • Easier supplier enablement. A cloud integration layer facilitates fast integration with suppliers. As a result, buyers can automate deeper into their supply chain, creating the same efficiencies throughout the supplier tail that would previously have been limited to top-line suppliers.

  • A reduced technical burden for suppliers. Many suppliers do not have the technical sophistication or the resources to provide custom integrations to their buyers. With a managed integration layer, they only have to integrate with one platform, and the gateway handles the rest. The PunchOut2Go team supports both buyers and suppliers, ensuring that integration is completed flawlessly with minimal lead times.

  • Scalability. The PunchOut2Go Gateway supports hundreds of eProcurement platforms and eCommerce stores, which allows PunchOut2Go clients to integrate any combination of platforms in any number.

  • Reduced costs. The seamless flow of information between buyer and supplier reduces procurement errors, manual processing, and provides data that buyers and suppliers need to rationalize the procurement process. Many suppliers recognize that B2B automation reduces costs and are happy to provide discounts to buyers who provide automated ordering.

  • Continuity. eCommerce is an evolutionary process and as such organizations need to maintain integrations without re-work, PunchOut2Go customers can leverage the platform-as-a-service to seamlessly evolve to other commerce technologies as their business grows, pivots, and warrants.

To learn more about how the PunchOut2Go Gateway can bring seamless B2B automation to your supply chain, contact us via live chat, or fill out the form on this page.

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