A business network needs to embrace a next-generation platform for better business performance, and bring innovations into your business. Just automating what you already do is necessary, not sufficient.
With personal networks, you can connect and interact from anywhere, at any time, using any device. You should expect the same simplicity and connectedness from your business network.
Drive end-to-end process collaboration across the entire value chain. Big or small. Banking or manufacturing. Supply chain or finance. You should look for a comprehensive platform to automate and improve your complete buying, selling, and other processes with all of your trading partners.
Size matters. You want to begin automating interactions with your customers, suppliers, and other partners immediately – without the hassles of recruitment, change management, or big integration projects. How many trading partners does the network have? What kind of volumes?
Do business on a secure, reliable network which has always-on performance and secure information and process management so that you can collaborate with confidence. In order to meet your security standards, it must be fully audited and endorsed by industry security standards, for example WebTrust certified and SAS 70 Type II compliant. Also, how big is the company behind the network? Will they be there in ten years’ time?
You conduct business in all parts of the world. Your business network should, too. It should support local languages, currencies, and tax requirements – so you can focus on finding and collaborating with partners from Paris to Peru.
You can improve your performance – and ultimately, profits – using your existing processes and systems. A network should make it easier for you and your trading partners to leverage the power of the network with preconfigured adapters .
Work smarter and faster. Digitizing business-to-business documents and transactions is a good start. But considering that one in five business documents is incomplete or erroneous, many networks end up just automating bad processes.
A network has the possibility of harnessing the power of network-derived intelligence for better decisions. Using years of transaction, relationship, and community data, you can gain real-time insights in supply chain performance, risks, rates, market trends, and more.
Even if you can’t evaluate all of the other nine, you should look at the success of the network. Growth, stability, and longevity are indicators, but you should also evaluate the business model of a network. Only networks with a fundamentally sound business model can sustain growth for the long term. If companies keep leaving, then something is probably wrong. However, if the network keeps growing, then how much longer are you going to wait on the sidelines?
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