B2B Integration

9 Steps to Building a Compelling Business Case for B2B Integration

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This is the final entry in my series of blogs providing advice and tools to help you secure budget for B2B Integration investments. The last topic, creating a business case, is critically important. Even though few look forward to creating a business case, knowing how is a skill that will benefit you many times during your career.

I know that writing a business case is probably not on your list of favorite things to do, so I have some help for you in our guide, 9 steps to building a compelling business case for B2B integration. It walks you through these key steps:

Step 1: Target your audience

Step 2: Consider the context

Step 3: Secure solid executive sponsorship

Step 4: Team up with a business partner

Step 5: Frame the problem – and the solution – in business terms

Step 6: Build a realistic cost-benefit picture

Step 7: Don’t leave out the indirect benefits

Step 8: Make the business “own” the benefits

Step 9: Establish key vendor selection criteria

Each step is explained and contains helpful recommendations, examples and tips for completing it.   What I really like about this guide is that it focuses on more than just the business case itself, but expands to cover the things you can do to increase the success of your business case. Things like IT aligning with your Line of Business (LoB) counterparts and securing executive sponsorships, so that you have a solid team fighting to make your business case with you. Aligning with the LoB executives is especially important for IT executives, as the trend over the past decade has LoB increasingly driving IT investment decisions.

When building your B2B Integration business case, don’t forget the earlier blogs I wrote, because they can help you strengthen your case. In “Six Things You Need to Know before You Start Building Your 2016 B2B Budget,” I provided a lot of data points showing where and why companies are investing in modernizing their B2B integration, use the relevant points to bolster your business case.

Additionally, in my 2nd blog, “Getting a Seat at the Table: Proving the Value of B2B Integration through Numbers,” I covered the B2B Automation Savings Calculator to show the value B2B is providing your company and the increased value it could potentially provide. Use those techniques to help you with Step 6 above to build a realistic cost benefit analysis. I worked with an IBM Business Partner this year who had a client that used the ROI report from the calculator to bolster their business case for modernizing their B2B integration.

One final piece of advice on successfully securing a budget for B2B integration investment—your mindset is important. While the budget process may be lengthy, difficult and a lot of work, it is also an opportunity for you to show your skills as a leader and to help your company grow by investing in B2B integration modernization. Keeping that in mind can turn a routine exercise into something more worthwhile.

 

 

Market Segment Manager for B2B, Commerce, and Procurement at IBM

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