business meetingby: John Applegate

So you’ve done sufficient due diligence during the software acquisition to have confidence that the solution will meet your technical requirements and the solution has been deployed.  Now what?  Job #1 is to focus on meeting business objectives.  Here are three motivating factors that should drive your focus.

Focus on Business Objectives

  1. Capture Revenue:  You want to do business with your customers in new ways but your legacy platform(s) are preventing you from on-boarding them or supporting the business model effectively.  You need to get them on the new platform …fast.    The new system must provide rich features and capabilities.  For example, direct support for all data formats, dynamic routing capabilities, communication protocols available allows you to say ‘yes’, we can do that…today. This translates into faster time to revenue.  And ultimately, this agility will make you more competitive to win more business.
  2. Mitigate Risk: Your new platform provides security that ensures data is protected from loss and that sensitive data is protected.  It enforces compliance with external and internal security controls for transparency and visibility, and industry compliance standards like PCI-DSS and customer SLAs. It also supports business continuity. In a 24/7 financial world, your business needs to be up and running at all times.
  3. Reduce Costs: The solution you choose should not only improve operations, but should also help cut costs.  The new platform will make you more efficient in how you support customers.  For example, you should be able to offer self-service value-add capabilities such as track-and-trace visibility for internal business users (or even customers themselves to eliminate delays, improve customer relations, and cut down on laborious support activities that are a bottleneck.  Additionally, shutting down the legacy platform saves operational and license/maintenance costs.

Accelerating the migration off of your legacy platform and building a methodology for on-boarding will make this promised ROI a reality.  During the vendor selection process, the vendor’s solution for migration is equally as important as the technology itself.  It’s imperative that the vendor has the tools and experience to *finish* your migration….not just start it.  And be skeptical; not all vendors can deliver on their promise.  Without the ability to actually conclude your migration, the shiny new platform will sit idle and your customers are stuck on the old platform with continued costs, risks and bottlenecks.

The trick 

There’s a whole methodology that needs to be built around the platform to facilitate a migration and support on-going on-boarding activities.  Every trading community consists of a wide variety of trading partners that vary in their technological capabilities and expertise. There are essentially three main categories of partners—those that are B2B enabled, those that are B2B “ready and willing” but not yet enabled, and B2B challenged “mom and pops” that need your guidance.  Your new platform must embrace partners of all sophistication by providing a purpose built methodology and infrastructure for each.

–   B2B Enabled partners need a mechanism to exchange information effectively and facilitate testing via an automated, managed process.

–   B2B Willing partners need that same process but also need an endpoint solution pre-configured for your community that follows your guidelines.

–   B2B Challenged partners need an on-line portal that makes it easy for them to do business with you in accordance with your guidelines.

Furthermore, the new platform must not only support the needs of the external trading community, but must also consider and provide incremental value for your internal business units.  Not only is this necessary, it in fact turns what’s otherwise seen as a cost center into a revenue generator.  It should be a core differentiator.  Internal applications need to be on-boarded and legacy file transfer platforms such as unsecure FTP need to be replaced.  Think about it in terms of the capabilities needed to bring your products to your market. This is where Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Process Management (BPM) come into play.  On-boarding a new internal process should take hours, not weeks or months.  The right solution from an experienced vendor can lead the way.

Unfortunately, some vendors will promise to deliver in a few weeks, and a year later you’ll still be waiting for them to finish up.  SEEBURGER delivers when we say we will. Approaching migration and onboarding with a full understanding of your goals, expected results and the importance of an experienced vendor with the right tools will enable you to realize better time to revenue, cost containment and risk reduction.