How a sourcing & service company enabled IT independence for their business and boosted time-to-market efficiency

Anonymous customer due to internal policies

A European sourcing and service company has a B2B e-commerce platform, which accounts for +60% of their annual revenue from +10,000 partners (customers). However, they faced challenges with the time-consuming process of creating new partner logins.

The challenge:

The IT department handled onboarding new partners, which diverted resources from more complex IT tasks. The business had to wait for the IT department to onboard a new partner if they wanted the order digitally.

The company wanted a more agile setup with automated processes to increase time-to-market and sought a new integration platform and a strategic integration partner.

Overcoming resource constraints with a strategic external partner

In the search for an integration solution that could push some integrations and onboarding of partners into the business, the company chose the component Link from Bizbrains. This enabled a hybrid integration setup with EDI still being built in IT, and the business onboarding partners in Link.

However, they didn’t have any experience with the platform Link.

We needed to find a strategic integration partner, who had experience with Link, a structured process to implementation, and employees with a high level of seniority and knowledge. And we found that with INVIXO.

The business always has 1st priority for the IT department, so pulling out several internal employees for this new project would have meant neglecting other critical IT tasks necessary for day-to-day operations.

It was impossible to withdraw the required number of resources to this project internally. We needed to ensure we could still provide support for the overall business in our daily operations. So we had to find a strategic partner, who could supply us with extra resources and skills for this project.

Overcoming complexity in customer onboarding: Migrating +800 mappings

The structure behind all the company’s partners is complex due to the intricate mapping and table system in the backend SAP, midware PI, and Link. With +800 mappings and +10,000 partners, many with their own unique requirements, the process required extensive analysis and careful management of the “spaghetti” of data to ensure a smooth migration.  

Our team, both internal members and INVIXO personnel, poured an immense amount of effort and analysis into tackling the complexity of these mappings.

The company and INVIXO started the migration in August 2020 and November 2020 was the first go live. The Director of Digital Product Services explains:

It was a ‘short and fat’ project executed in less than 3 months, and a big-bang approach was out of the question. The consultants from INVIXO, as well as our internal integration team, played a critical role in ensuring that everything was meticulously planned and executed, achieving a successful first go-live.

A long-term partnership

Onboarding a partner to the company domain requires some investment from internal IT colleagues. But it’s a long-term investment. INVIXO has been working with the company for 2.5 years, with some INVIXO colleagues involved in short-term projects and others working with them for the entire duration. The company appreciates the advantage of scaling up with INVIXO resources.

More INVIXO people is an advantage over new partners, as they can help each other learn our internal systems. It’s cool that we can help each other in a true partnership, giving green developers experience for a favorable price, and freeing up senior INVIXO developers to tackle new projects.

A Bumpy Road to Success

An integration project is time-consuming, and this project was no exception. Sometimes things didn’t go as fast as expected. With +800 mappings and a complex structure, it has been a bumpy road. Some of the challenges the team experienced were:

  • Lacking support of the EDIFACT format, so Bizbrainz had to develop an EDIFACT module to continue
  • Migration of mappings: to get the whole setup around SAP PI and Link in place and to create the overview needed to start the work
  • Different performance issues solved along the road: SAP PI invoices, SAP API-M (not used anymore)
  • Link platform issues such as sessions expired, or connections closed without any notice
  • Migration of +10,000 partners

The complexity and the size of the task were challenging.

But the result is worth it.

The biggest changes

The sourcing and service company has gotten a simpler landscape. The business can now onboard partners in Denmark and Sweden without involving IT. So, time-to-market has increased significantly here. And IT can use its time on more complex assignments. 

The biggest changes have been upscale of internal skills on Link, and that we can push the onboarding out in the business so our people in IT can focus on more complex tasks.

And how have the INVIXO colleagues been throughout this process?  

We are very pleased with our INVIXO colleagues. Nanna’s expertise in the PI part – she’s fantastic, Simon’s extremely deep knowledge and word-class change readiness, along with Klaus’ outstanding support. All in all, you understand what we are talking about, are always ready to help, reply fast, have a structured process – and really are a strategic partner.

Mild concerns over project price put to rest

Estimating the cost of an integration project can be challenging, and it’s natural to have some concerns about the price. It’s important to exercise due diligence. This was also the case here, and the sourcing and service company had to consider factors such as whether to go with a fixed price or timed material. The company and INVIXO did some rounds to get aligned discussing the best pricing model for the project. 

We’re pleased with the outcome and believe that the investment was worth it. Ultimately, the benefits of the project outweights our initial cost considerations.

Final remarks

The cooperation between the sourcing & service company and INVIXO has been instrumental in successfully migrating all mappings, and +10.000 partners. The next project has been started: the transition of the Dutch Business Unit’s custom-developed component to the standard platform.  

And the migration of the Norwegian Business Unit and partners to the standard platform is scheduled, so the collaboration will continue to ensure the project’s success.

The sourcing & service company is expanding the partnership by onboarding more INVIXO colleagues to their team.

With the resources INVIXO has, they can help all companies with integration projects. At INVIXO you have competent people who can solve integration projects and who know business processes. And that combination is a powerful asset in my world.

If you are looking for a partner that specializes in integrations, so you don’t have to jeopardize your regular operations, reach out to us at INVIXO. We’re always ready for a chat and a coffee. 

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Vil du være med til at bygge fremtidens digitale fundament for både danske og internationale virksomheder?

Har du lyst til at være med til at rykke den gængse markedsopfattelse af hvordan data integreres, udstilles og forbruges?

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