There is no question that the digital revolution is in full swing in B2C. Cloud, digital and touch screen are the words du jour and almost everyone is aware of or used to them. Paper is almost obsolete in our personal day to day lives, save our books and greeting cards. Or the take away menus sneaking through the letterbox.
Not so in B2B
Business relationships are still very much grounded in vintage process and paperwork. The circulation of data depends on the paper trail. The Paper Trail = Holy Grail. Consider The Hackett Group’s recent performance study results that show almost 70% of the world’s invoices are still paper.
Only 50% of all the world’s POs are sent electronically. Think for a moment about the millions of bits of paper clogging up global business. And I’m not talking about money here! I’m talking about all those invoices that cost serious cash to process.
Think about the systems that have been in place for over 10–20 years where words like cloud, digital and touch screen are neologisms on the periphery of the B2B vocabulary.
With the Millennials joining the workforce and the rise of the cloud portals and networks, a shift is afoot. Environmental consciousness is also pushing us towards taking responsibility for our indulgence in paper and the implementation of sustainable technologies if we are to evolve.
Cloud portals and networks are shifting the status quo and aligning B2B with B2C in terms of efficiency and sustainability. Transparency, social feedback and instant access are all incredibly useful features brought about by digital technology. We benefit from them in our personal lives saving us time and money so their presence in B2B is not only crucial, but natural. And profitable. Any investment in technology at this stage of process transformation is ultimately a profitable investment.
People’s behaviours are being challenged but the barriers are starting to come down. Maybe not all at once and maybe not always easily. The more businesses learn, the more they understand, the more the benefits become apparent.
The aim here is to educate, to show the realities of business so everyone can make an informed decision about tech at work.