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Last week I read an article discussing an SAP customer’s recent move to a managed service model for their global EDI, B2B and e-Invoicing needs because of the following reasons:

  • large backlog of customers and suppliers needing EDI
  • complexity of supporting EDI globally
  • high cost of employing global EDI experts
  • high costs of supporting global EDI systems
  • need to be compliant with global e-Invoicing regulations
  • desire to focus internal employees on core business processes, not global EDI compliance

There are many challenges associated with the traditional model of implementing EDI and B2B, but SAP is making significant investments into making EDI and B2B easier and more cost efficient for their customers with their BNT (Business Network Transformation) strategy.  BNT includes SAP Netweaver PI, Enterprise Services Repository, Global Data Types, canonical data models and an eSOA architecture.  These platforms and standards permit SAP BPO partners to efficiently integrate and provide EDI and B2B services to SAP customers.

 

The SAP customer, Brown Forman, owns and markets some of the most well known liquor and wine brands in the world and sells its 35 brands in more than 135 countries across the globe.

Brown Forman had a steadily increasing backlog of EDI project requests, with each transaction requiring multiple weeks of internal effort, and increasing complexity associated with integrating trading partners in locations around the world. “Hiring new employees or training existing ones to include new global EDI requirements would have been cost-prohibitive for us because it would have been so resource-intensive,” said Kathy Pramik, Brown Forman’s AVP & Director of Enterprise Systems. “We want to keep our internal resources focused on value-added strategic business activities, so outsourcing our B2B enablement was the perfect solution.”

Ensuring regulatory compliance was another pressing concern for Brown-Forman. “Many countries we work with have created their own requirements for eBusiness processes, like Mexico’s Tax Authority E-Invoicing mandate,” explained Kathy Pramik, Brown Forman’s AVP & Director of Enterprise Systems. “Some of these regulations are very complex such as requirements for mandatory digital signatures and archiving. We can’t afford to overlook any details when we go to enable a new business partner, or everything grinds to a halt while we work out the compliance issues.”

Brown Forman selected an SAP BPO partner because they could provide professional B2B methodology and experience in addition to a well-developed repository of ready-to-run B2B mappings, a tight SAP relationship and they used Business Network Transformation methodologies for integration, and 24/7/365 first-level support.

 

For documentation, comments and interviews on SAP’s recent investments in the Business Network Transformation area read this article.

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