Don’t Let COVID-19 Distance You From Your Trading Partners

Q&A with John Radko, SVP of Engineering, OpenText

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OpenText

Supply chains and trading partnerships have been put under huge pressure in 2020 due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. We talked with John Radko, SVP of Engineering for OpenText, about what organizations can do to tackle these challenges and how they can securely integrate people, systems and things across their extended business ecosystems.

Businesses faced huge challenges in 2020. How has this disruption changed the way we trade?

The forces of change had already been pressuring businesses well before the start of 2020. If you think back to before COVID-19, things were changing even then. While that disruption wasn’t on the scale of a global pandemic, it manifested itself through changes in the way countries work together, trade wars, increasing tariffs, growing regulation and natural disasters. There were numerous challenges ongoing already, but I think it took COVID for us to appreciate just how much the world has changed.

Given the ongoing challenges, how can organizations enable greater collaboration with trading partners and suppliers?

Businesses must keep evolving to stay competitive, and the ability of partners to collaborate in real time makes the difference between success or failure.

How can organizations evolve and achieve this real-time collaboration, given the vast amount of data spread across different systems?

The speed, flexibility and consistency that organizations need to achieve this goal requires automation. But successful automation requires successful integration and that’s the challenge. According to IDG, only 52 percent of integration projects are completed on time and within budget.

“Connect once, reach anything” is the key, and that’s where OpenTextTM Trading Grid can make a real difference. Our commitment to APIs ensures that organizations can work at speed and scale with trading partners both established and new. Trading Grid is already the largest business network that the world has ever seen, the biggest B2B transaction network in history. But that’s not enough anymore. We need that single, unified platform to go beyond just connecting partners, to one that connects to cloud services, talks to devices and embraces the API economy.

Any specific examples that highlight the issues?

One organization is Coca-Cola Refrescos Bandeirantes, which is responsible for the exclusive production, distribution and sale of Coca-Cola products in Brazil. It faced issues with orders from retailers that contained invalid purchase order details, and a lack of overall visibility into the document used throughout the accounts payable process. To improve the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) processes with its retailers, they needed to migrate to a solution that enabled a more global reach and more reliable B2B integration.

Another company is Matson Logistics, which had four different service providers for its EDI operations and with a lengthy onboarding process for trading partners. With over 300 trading partners and 10 million transactions exchanged with those partners, Matson Logistics needed a B2B platform with world-class EDI capabilities to securely exchange business documents, such as purchase orders and invoices, in a standard electronic format.  

What are the benefits you are seeing organizations achieve by taking this approach?

By switching its EDI processing to a global platform like OpenText Trading Grid and B2B Managed Services, Refrescos Bandeirantes can better automate and streamline its B2B operations. This provides better management capabilities for data exchange between the company and its distributors, as well as greater file and document visibility. They no longer receive invalid invoices and the process is now fully centralized. I guess you could say the benefits are “the real thing” for them.

And Matson Logistics consolidated its EDI operations into a single platform with day-to-day responsibilities handled by OpenText. This has helped the company cut EDI support costs by 24% and enhanced service delivery to its customers. Onboarding time for trading partners has also been cut by almost five weeks. In addition, nearly all purchase orders – and more than half of Matson Logistics’ invoices – are now routed through the OpenText network, decreasing manual exception handling.

And how is OpenText continuing to innovate and help organizations with these challenges?

We have introduced new features for OpenText Business Network Cloud in OpenText Cloud Editions (CE) 20.4. These include enhancements for our Global Partner Directory and Lens and 40 new connectors for critical business apps. There are also updates to OpenText Freeway Cloud to accelerate digital trading and order acceptance, as well as advancements in IoT Shipment Tracking.

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