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#55 [31.08.2005]
 

B2B portal: A Business Platform to Ultimate Productivity Improvement

By Nowshade Kabir ©Rusbiz.com

B2B portal: A Business Platform to Ultimate Productivity Improvement

If somebody tells you that your present corporate website can be converted to a B2B portal which will help you significantly improve your company’s productivity in both of the two primary factors: Revenue Growth and Cost Saving, and that the portal can be launched in a matter of months with a very reasonable investment, what will be your reaction? Read on to learn how corporations all over the world are missing out from an opportunity, which can revolutionize the way they manage their businesses.

What is a B2B portal?

A portal is defined as an access point to World Wide Web. A portal is a combination of web pages, features and services which become a primary destination for users. The word was first used to describe the sites of popular Internet access providers or search engines such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo! At a later stage, the word “portal” evolved into something bigger covering business websites, where a corporate portal or enterprise information portal acts as a base for employees, customers, suppliers and other associates of a company to access corporate information and web services. A B2B portal is a distinct kind of website with features to conduct electronic business and manage significant parts of corporate business processes.

Benefits of having a B2B portal

Today, B2B portals are not just a fancy idea! They are an absolute necessity for all enterprises of any shape and size. The advantages of having a quality B2B portal are massive. Implementation of a true high quality B2B portal could have immediate impact on company productivity.

Revenue Growth

Revenue Increase from Existing Clients
Existing clients get faster and easier access to product information, quicker response to their requests, get better customer support and are able to buy products online.

Revenue Increase from Value Added Services
Once a B2B portal is set as the primary sales channel, freed resources can be used to create more value added services for clients. Some of the services that the portal may offer also could be utilized to generate more value.

Cost Savings

Order Processing Cost
If the B2B portal integrates supply chain management solution, it will reduce the cost of processing orders drastically. Studies show that similar solution can reduce cost of processing a purchase order from US$ 70 down in average to US$ 6 only.

Sales and support costs
Automated sales and customer support features integrated in the solution is capable of reducing overhead costs up to 30 percent.

Inventory keeping costs
Clearer visibility and forecasting ability thanks to various features of the B2B portal may help companies considerably reduce inventory keeping costs.

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Other key benefits include:

Low customer acquisition cost
Branding the portal on the Internet effectively will help attracting customers from new sources. The cost of acquiring customers through online channels is always cheaper than other traditional methods.

Improve customer service
Ability to have constant interaction with customers through the B2B portal helps companies serve customers better. The B2B portal solution allows tracking the whole ordering process from payment to delivery and brings greater efficiency in customer service.

Reduce sourcing time cycle
The customers can select products from the integrated marketplace of the B2B portal and either sends purchase orders or using the shopping cart buy products out right. Buyers handle all their procurement related correspondence from a consolidated working page, which helps them react instantly and reduce time in document processing.

Community participation
Company buyers and sellers can create communities surrounding the B2B portal’s discussion board. This helps getting valuable feedbacks on time, building new partnerships using the networking ability of a community, and disseminating important information through out the members easily.

Real time access to current product information
Current information of a product is vital for an accurate buying decision. Updating product content and other information using customized forms as it is necessary, the company can help buyers and other associates take critical decision promptly.

Control rogue spending
Consolidated and automated procurement and approval method stops maverick buying in a company.

Main components of a B2B portal

Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management solutions can deliver great values to company’s existing systems. Implementation of these solutions will help achieving incredibly high return on investment and will have tremendous impact on company’s business, which include: better productivity, faster order processing, greater visibility, the elimination of maverick; or unplanned purchasing, etc.

Marketplace
This is the venue where the enterprises can post their products for sale. A sophisticated shopping cart will be integrated into the electronic marketplace in order to automate the buying process.

Auction
Electronic auction system can use both English and Dutch auction methods. For convenience the auction component can be integrated into the electronic marketplace. Online auction helps liquidate surplus goods easily.

Reverse Auction
This solution allows the company to automate electronic procurement, where suppliers compete for business real time online.

Storefront for Participants
Each associate of the B2B portal will get a Storefront that may reflect profile of the company, its products, services or other information.

Forum
A Forum or a Discussion Board is an organized, on-line interactive message board where participants conduct discussion on a set of topics by posting questions, comments and responses.

Internal Messaging System
Sophisticated Internal Messaging System allows a participant of the B2B portal send and receive messages from other participants and the company. Since the messages do not leave a secured server, participants would not be worried about sending sensitive information over the Internet.

Classified
Catalog based bulletin board allows company associates to post important notices in various predefined formats.

Directory of Companies
This is a listing of all registered associates of the B2B portal either by business category or by alphabetical order. An advanced search engine tool is incorporated in order to find a company based on data provided.

E–catalog
E–catalog — a hierarchy of product and service categories based on UNSPCS, a global products and services classification method that covers the broadest collection of industries and commodities available today, and designed to facilitate e-commerce transactions by providing geography-independent common nomenclature system.

Product Content Adding System
Product adding mechanism based on either easy-to-use wizard or simple but detail forms allow users to integrate products or services with accurate and up-to-date information.

Product Notification
The system can generate an alert and send by email to a user, who requested to inform once a particular product or service gets added to the E-catalog.

Numerous other features could be incorporated to an existing B2B portal depending on requirement, such as: News Aggregation using RSS feed, Contact Management, Electronic Journal, Press Room, Document Repository, etc.

Time needed to set up

Using ready made B2B Portal components from a provider like Rusbiz.com a medium size portal can be build or integrated to existing website within three to four months.

By developing a B2B portal ahead of your major competitors you can give your business a significant boost and make your company stand out from the crowd.

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About the author
Nowshade Kabir is the founder, primary developer and present CEO of Rusbiz.com. A Ph. D. in Information Technology, he has wide experience in Business Consulting, International Trade and Web Marketing. Rusbiz is a Global B2B Emarketplace with solutions to start and run online business. Click here to contact him.