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Why Suppliers Should Care About eProcurement Integrations

As a supplier with a B2B eCommerce site, it benefits your business to provide a fast and inexpensive route to integration for your customers. B2B eProcurement users spend more and have longer relationships with sellers who are prepared to accommodate their needs for integration and automation.

Why Suppliers Should Care About eProcurement Integration

EProcurement integration has two very desirable outcomes for B2B buyers. First, it provides an avenue for buyers to make purchases on a supplier’s eCommerce site from within their own eProcurement system. Second, it facilitates the seamless exchange of procurement data — purchase orders, invoices, shipping notifications, etc.— between the eCommerce store or ERP and the buyer’s eProcurement system.

As a supplier with a B2B eCommerce site, it benefits your business to provide a fast and inexpensive route to integration for your customers. B2B eProcurement users spend more and have longer relationships with sellers who are prepared to accommodate their needs for integration and automation. Why is this the case?

It’s important to understand what buyers are seeking from the B2B eCommerce purchasing experience, and how integration can help your business provide the best possible experience. From the perspective of the buyer, this is what the ideal B2B eCommerce experience would look like:

  • The buyer searches for a supplier within their eProcurement platform. PunchOut catalog integration ensures that a seller’s store is available to buyers within their platform.

  • The buyer chooses a supplier and “punches out” to the supplier’s eCommerce store where they are automatically authenticated. The eCommerce store is personalized for the buyer, surfacing relevant products, contracted prices, and discounts.

  • The buyer chooses products for their cart as usual.

  • Once the buyer has selected their products, they transfer the cart data back to the eProcurement platform instead of checking out. When the buyer hits the transfer cart button, their order is sent to the eProcurement platform where a purchase requisition is created and routed internally for approval based on business processes.

  • When the order is approved, a purchase order is created and is sent to the supplier’s eCommerce store and/or back-end business ordering system.

We have outlined the PunchOut and purchase order experience here, but eProcurement integration may also cover other data, such as order confirmations, shipping notifications, invoices, and other electronic documents.

How Are eCommerce Stores Integrated with eProcurement Platforms?

There are two approaches to integrating an eCommerce store with a buyer’s eProcurement platform for punchout and data interchange: ad-hoc custom integrations and integration via a managed gateway.

Ad-Hoc Custom Integrations

Ad-hoc custom integrations are typically coordinated by the buy-side. A top-line supplier is chosen for integration, and the buyer provides documentation to help onboard the seller. The burden of integration falls on the seller.

The ad-hoc strategy relies on custom integrations to bridge the gap between incompatible eCommerce and eProcurement platforms, a process that often takes many months and imposes significant resource demands on the supplier. Once the project is complete, the data flows, but the integration is not scalable to buyers on different platforms, so when a seller is asked to integrate with other buyers, the demanding integration process starts all over again.

Managed Integration Gateway

A managed integration layer is a cloud service that ingests data from buyer and seller platforms, mediating communication, translating and harmonizing data so that platforms can “talk” to each other.

A gateway abstracts the integration process, allowing the thousands of possible combinations of eCommerce applications and eProcurement platforms to be seamlessly integrated. The seller’s eCommerce store only has to talk to one end-point, the gateway, which encapsulates the complex functionality that would otherwise have been built as a custom integration.

For example, suppose your company is the operator of a B2B BigCommerce store and wants to enable PunchOut capability for a buyer using the Jaggaer eProcurement platform. An eProcurement integrator like PunchOut2Go provides a gateway which is compatible with both Jaggaer and BigCommerce. The same gateway can be used to provide PunchOut connectivity with SAP Ariba, Coupa, or any other eProcurement platform.

As a B2B seller, you will be judged on your readiness to provide eProcurement integration with your buyers on a variety of platforms. Buyers with eProcurement initiatives are invested in their systems, and sellers who are able to provide integrations have a competitive advantage and will ultimately increase sales while reducing the cost to serve customers. PunchOut2Go is the global leader in managed gateway integrations. Contact us for more information about growing your business by providing an ideal purchasing experience for your buyers.

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