The Real Villain in B2B Manufacturing and Distribution

B2B businesses have a big problem. 

Inefficiency is the problem, and it’s an expensive one. It’s also the reason why enterprise B2Bs are often powerless when it comes to making quick decisions and adapting in the face of rapidly changing demands. Inefficiency can take away a competitive edge, and bring a successful company to its death knell. 

Why does this happen? As enterprises implement new technology tools and systems due to growth, their business operations become more complex, and often convoluted, making it more challenging to adapt or improve as they scale. 

Now let’s talk about who the real villain is in this story

The villain is “limitations” — faced by both IT and Business. Business needs to be agile, to move fast, be proactive as opposed to reactive, and meet, if not exceed revenue expectations. And Business relies on IT in order to do all this. However, IT needs to uphold compliance and keep the tech stack secure. There is push and pull between the two because although IT enables Business, Business needs speed. 

Neither IT nor Business has what they need to succeed. IT doesn’t have the appropriate resources to empower Business because essentially IT has two options to do this: 

  • Develop custom solutions themselves.

  • Buy and implement packaged, specific capability apps.

Custom solutions can take 6–9 months, often more, to build and implement. Then IT needs to provide guidance and ongoing support. That means these custom solutions consume resources and attention when IT is already spread thin. 

So why not go with the packaged specific task-focused apps, you ask? 

Although they can solve specific process problems, they will also lead to serious gaps, redundancies, and inefficiency elsewhere because they are too functionality specific. They hinder any cross-functional processes and don’t adapt to user preferences. 

Thinking you’ve added a tool to solve a specific issue, but in reality, you’ve just created other problems and increased the tools in your tech stack — which now seems to be ever-growing. And you can’t actually extend it to reduce the number of tools in your stack: this is usually how it goes. Not surprisingly, the typical enterprise uses many different monolithic apps — to the tune of around 1,295 apps and SaaS solutions.

That wouldn’t matter if all these apps worked, ran smoothly, and met all operational and IT needs. But they never do. That number wouldn’t be so distressing if these apps made B2B businesses more effective. It comes as no surprise that only 24% of IT professionals feel that their current tech stack meets all their needs and a massive 82% think their enterprise utilizes too many apps.

This also leaves IT teams scrambling to fix process challenges often resulting in short-term stop gaps that aren’t sustainable, with the majority of their time spent on maintenance, instead of innovation that drives the business forward.

So what is the answer? 

Modular architecture. It is designed to enable IT with reusable building blocks that the business can use to compose their own custom workflows. These building blocks can extend applications, facilitate coordination across functions, process data, and most importantly  — extend capabilities that would usually demand custom coding and a development team.

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