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5 Steps to a successful implementation of a supplier portal

When planning a new implementation of the B2B Connex supplier portal, there are 5 steps that must be taken.

1. Integration

The integration is usually done by exchanging XML messages often in the form of flat files transferred between systems. The XML formats are not set, but can be any format depending mainly on the ERP system that is being integrated with. If there is not already an XML based integration available for the target ERP system, one will have to be created for each of the types of business documents desired (PO, PO Confirmation, Invoice, etc.). The creation of new integrations can be done through services or by in-house staff. If in-house staff are doing the integration development services staff can provide the initial understanding of the techniques required to successfully build this integration.

2. Installation

The installation can usually be done in one or two days depending on the complexity of the requirements. For instance, a single server installation that is installed behind a pre-existing firewall might take less than one day, but a more complex installation including multiple servers or tiers in a clustered configuration for load balancing could take 2-3 days to install and verify.

3. Configuration

There are several configuration options that need to be set during the implementation of a new installation. This increases with the number of business documents that are being deployed (PO, Invoice, RFQ, etc.) as well as the optional use of additional modules such as the Vendor Information Centre or the B2B Direct module that provides EDI functionality. This configuration can take from one day to a week or occasionally longer depending on this complexity.

4. Training

The training of business people on the use of the supplier portal is not a lengthy process. This can be done in 2 to 3 days depending on the scale of the implementation as well as the number of people taking part. Business training is given to buyers, managers, A/P personnel etc. to give them an understanding of the work flow in the product and administrative training is given to the staff assigned to support the portal. Supplier training can also be arranged or a “train-the-trainer” approach can be used where your staff instructs personnel about how to train the suppliers that will be asked to access the system.

5. Supplier Rollout

There is a recommended procedure used to bring new suppliers onto the system. This includes ensuring that the suppliers can access the software, that the appropriate information about the supplier is known (email addresses, etc.), and that the suppliers receive the appropriate training on the use of the system. The total time required to bring a single supplier on-board is usually measured in hours rather than days, so this process is minimal provided that you have a process in place.

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