Why Data Analytics Represent the Frontier of B2B Decision-Making

businessman with data

Building better B2B relationships increasingly starts with better payments data.

And with the news Tuesday (July 2) that FleetUp and RoadFlex have integrated their solutions to automate fleet expense management and fuel management, from data collection to reporting, leveraging B2B payment data for insights into spending patterns and commercial relationships is top of mind for forward thinking businesses.

Across the B2B landscape, the emphasis on efficiency, accuracy and strategic decision-making has never been greater — and data analytics has emerged as a pivotal force driving strategic decisions and operational efficiencies.

Data analytics in B2B payment processing offers businesses a lens through which they can scrutinize and understand their transactional data in real time. This capability enables companies to identify trends, forecast future payment volumes and detect fraudulent transactions with greater accuracy, transforming how businesses handle payments, extract insights and fortify supplier relationships

Businesses that excel in leveraging data analytics for B2B payments distinguish themselves in several key areas. These outperformers prioritize the integration of analytics into their payment processes, enabling them to gain deeper insights into their operations and customer behaviors.

They invest in advanced analytics capabilities, including predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), to forecast trends and automate decision-making. Additionally, these companies foster a culture that values data-driven decision-making, encouraging continuous improvement and innovation in their payment strategies.

By doing so, they not only are able to enhance their operational efficiency but also can better achieve superior financial performance.

Read moreInteroperability and Extensibility Will Define New Era for B2B Payments

Driving Better Decisions and Strengthening B2B Relationships

The application of data analytics in B2B payments transcends transactional analysis. It plays a crucial role in enhancing decision-making processes, enabling companies to tailor their payment strategies based on actionable insights derived from their data.

PYMNTS has repeatedly heard from industry experts that B2B payments, and businesses in general, may have the most to gain from embracing payments innovation over the next few years — and data analytics plays a large role in advancing that opportunity.

“It’s not just the visibility, it’s the real-time visibility and being able to take that data and transact and make decisions based on that data in real time,” Ari Widlansky, managing director and U.S. chief operating officer at Esker, told PYMNTS. “This is where you can unlock value across the entire invoice-to-cash experience.”

Understanding spending patterns is crucial for businesses to manage their finances effectively. By analyzing payment data, companies can identify trends and anomalies in their spending. This can highlight areas of excessive expenditure or reveal opportunities for cost savings.

For instance, analytics can show if a business is consistently paying higher prices for certain goods compared to industry benchmarks, signaling a need for renegotiation with suppliers. Alternatively, if analytics reveal that a business is a top customer for a supplier, it can use this leverage to secure better pricing or more flexible payment terms.

And access to detailed payment data enables businesses to approach negotiations with suppliers from a position of strength. By understanding their own spending patterns and supplier performance metrics, companies can negotiate more favorable terms and discounts.

See also: How Supplier-Friendly Card Solutions Improve Business Cash Flow

The Future of B2B Payments and Data Analytics

Effective cash flow management is vital for sustaining business operations and growth. Analytics can provide a detailed view of payment cycles, highlighting patterns in payment delays or early payments. Companies can use this information to optimize their cash flow, ensuring they have the necessary liquidity to meet their obligations without holding excessive cash reserves that could be better utilized elsewhere.

PYMNTS Intelligence in the inaugural edition of “The 2024 Certainty Project Report” found that uncertainty, particularly around payments, costs middle-market companies more than $20 million on average.

Many of these uncertainties stem from incompatible technologies, manual data entry and the complexities of legacy systems — making innovation a growing imperative.

“B2B payments haven’t evolved much from the modalities that dominated the landscape 40 or even 50 years ago,” Boost Payment Solutions Chief Operating Officer Illya Shell told PYMNTS.

“Traditionally, payments were an afterthought,” Shell said. “But modernizing global B2B payments is an enormous opportunity … at this point, only a small percentage of B2B payment flows have been digitized or optimized,” he said, noting the market is young. “Much of what’s left is really hampered by rigid and inflexible systems.”

Ultimately, analytics-driven decisions help in streamlining operations, leading to increased efficiency and productivity. By automating payment processes and integrating analytics, businesses can achieve a higher level of operational excellence and customer satisfaction.

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