A New Era in On-boarding – It’s all about managing relationships

A technical overview of IBM Sterling Partner Engagement Manager

The state of on-boarding today

Many companies have a complex and sometimes global- mix of trading partners (suppliers, partners and customers) they do business with and often times have large, crossfunctional teams of personnel involved in their onboarding process ranging from IT staff, to Supplier / Customer Relationship Managers, to legal and administrative staff.

This large mix of external partners and internal staff, exchanging administrative and technical connectivity information that’s routinely changing is a challenging, burdensome and inherently slow process, with little or no enterprise visibility into the state of each partner’s onboarding journey. So on-boarding each one and the documents that get exchanged and managing the relationships on an on-going basis can be challenging, especially when relying on a largely manual process. If you look at it from an IT perspective they bear the responsibility to drive the initial on-boarding process.

This could be across multiple applications and processes, having to support a diverse set of communication protocol requirements plus the establishment of passwords, certificates, keys, and contact information, all of which take time and then soon become out-of-date or expire. They also have to ensure that the data they capture and maintain about the business relationship is secure.

From the business’s perspective they have to wait on the on-boarding process to start driving revenue from the relationship. They experience both failures to critical processes when security certificates expire and subsequent delays in resolving the issue due to out-of-date contact information. Worse-case they experience a security breach which exposes all kinds of data including sensitive on-boarding data which damages their reputation and is costly to remediate.

The end result is an impact to a company’s business and a negative reflection on the relationships they have with their B2B community plus redundancy and costs in the work involved.

IBM Sterling Partner Engagement Manager

To address this need IBM offers IBM Sterling Partner Engagement Manager (PEM). PEM is a SaaS based, centralized on-boarding offering that allows companies to implement and maintain a more innovative and industryleading approach to managing B2B collaboration relationships while acting as a system of engagement for both partners and sponsors. This helps eliminate the redundancy of having to on-board a trading partner across multiple applications and processes and helps reduce the costs of both the initial on-boarding and the on-going-management of the relationship while improving the timeto value from the relationship.

However, when most companies think about on-boarding, they tend to focus on the traditional “silo’d” supplier and customer driven use cases. But IBM’s customers are applying PEM to a far broader set of use cases. Due to PEM’s extensive workflow, role-based control and user delegation capability, companies are also broadening PEM’s use to include both upstream partner onboarding tasks (think contractual and legal processes) as well as downstream departmental document exchanges (think promotions and / or targeted initiatives). In addition to full partner self-service onboarding, PEM enables LOB staff to provide onboarding detail on behalf of partners. PEM then uses REST APIs to load this into IBM Sterling B2B Integrator, IBM Sterling File Gateway and/or other RESTcapable backend applications.

PEM features

Sponsor admin can create and maintain LOB users
PEM includes a scheduler-based process to check for partner SSL certificates that are about to expire.
PEM sponsor administrators can define and share selfservice activities with the partner

PEM sponsor administrators can create custom PEM roles (e.g., “MFT Onboarding”, “EDI Onboarding”, “Contract Review”, “Supplier Management”, etc.)