Updated Jul 20, 2022.
Single Sign On (SSO) is a web technology that allows users to access a group of related but independent software systems. Rather than requiring a unique username and password at the login portal for each application, SSO grants access to all related systems from a single login portal, using a single username and password.
SSO simplifies B2B eCommerce solutions by providing one-login access to independent but related websites. Depending on the business, these might include separate websites for product information, co-op advertising management, and order placement and tracking. From a user experience perspective, SSO brings many business processes together under one digital roof. In a word, it’s crucial for serious B2B eCommerce projects.
SSO has existed for years, but companies have been slow to adopt it for B2B eCommerce. At Corevist, we’re getting more and more demand for SSO. This trend has only emerged in the last 5-7 years. Now we’re getting clients who absolutely must have SSO as part of their SAP eCommerce solution.
What does this trend mean? In our opinion, it’s an indication that the B2B eCommerce market is maturing.
SSO also indicates that companies have researched their customers’ needs and believe that a simplified login process is in everyone’s best interests. They no longer feel compelled to invest in one monolithic app that meets some needs adequately and fails on other counts. Instead, businesses are ready to build or buy best-of-breed apps for specific needs. Through the use of SSO, businesses can now enable their customers to access these heterogeneous applications through one login. With additional minor design work, businesses can now maintain cohesive branding across all these apps.
For companies that have not yet implemented SSO for their customers, the solution offers four great benefits for the user: involved.
- SSO makes it easier for the customer to register as a B2B eCommerce user.
- SSO greatly simplifies business journey navigation for customers.
- SSO mirrors the way customers think of your business.
- SSO enables customer access to B2B functionality from any device.
But customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from SSO. The solution offers 4 benefits to the manufacturer, as well:
- SSO simplifies the user registration and administration process.
- SSO enables access to different systems for different users based on business rules.
- SSO allows your employees to use B2B eCommerce data remotely.
- SSO simplifies the decomissioning of users across many systems.
1. SSO makes it easier for the customer to register as a B2B eCommerce user
For the customer, SSO provides a simple registration process. Rather than signing up for separate applications with separate passwords, the customer creates one account and gains access to all related systems.
2. SSO provides a simpler business journey
B2B relationships are complex, and not just on the seller’s side. Customers also have to navigate the complexities of their own business as well as any complexities which pop up in their relationship with you. If you can make their jobs a little easier (while streamlining your own processes too), it’s a win-win.
SSO alleviates the need for multiple logins and passwords. A customer only has to remember (or save) one password. With a single login, they can move seamlessly through the business processes that you’ve put in place. That means a simpler buying journey—log in once, follow links as necessary, and no more login screens pop up.
3. SSO mirrors the way customers think of your business
Customers don’t know how your business works in the backend. They have no idea how you handle complexity and data transfer—and they don’t need to know. All they know is the user experience that you provide for them and the business problems you solve for them.
Customers don’t think of your business as a complex series of moving parts and third party integrations. They see you as the unified brand which you’ve communicated to them. SSO helps reinforce that unified, reliable brand by gathering all the resources the customer needs under one login.
4. SSO enables customer access to B2B functionality from any device
In the mobile-first world, SSO enables your customers to access all components of your B2B eCommerce solution from any device. Logging into multiple systems with multiple usernames is annoying on desktop, but it’s even worse on a tablet or phone. When you provide SSO access to your eCommerce solution, you enable your customers to manage their shopping cart and place orders from any device.
1. SSO simplifies the user administration process
When a B2B eCommerce system requires only one username and password per user, that simplifies the user administration process on the manufacturer’s side. With only one set of credentials per user, your IT staff doesn’t have to keep redundant records of users. Everything is stored in a single database.
2. SSO enables access to different systems for different users based on business rules
Not all B2B eCommerce users are created equally. Some need access to every software system, while others only need access to certain parts. SSO allows you to administer permissions easily by granting or denying access to certain applications on a user-by-user basis.
3. SSO allows your employees to use B2B eCommerce data remotely
We’re hearing from more and more clients who’ve implemented mobile apps for handheld devices. These could be tablets handling inventory at the warehouse, mobile checkout devices at a physical point of sale, and everything in between. These devices offer increased efficiency because they’re ready to work on the spot, wherever the employee is in the warehouse or business location.
These apps and devices need to access the same backend systems as a desktop computer; but because they lack peripherals like a mouse or keyboard, they require an even more streamlined login experience. SSO offers just that. The employee can log in once on the device and access all related sites without logging in again.
4. SSO simplifies the decommissioning of users across many systems
When your B2B eCommerce users live in a single database, it’s much simpler to remove out-of-date users. Rather than deleting the same users multiple times in multiple databases, your staff can delete them once, knowing the entire system now reflects reality.
The varied face of SSO
SSO is not a monolithic solution. In fact, there are many types of SSO to fit many business models. For some companies, a massive, top-down SSO solution is ideal. This type of SSO becomes the main administrative platform, and it manages every system beneath it completely.
That’s an ambitious approach, and it’s great for companies that have thousands of users all over the globe. However, it isn’t ideal for every business.
Smaller companies can implement an SSO solution that maintains the single login but actually functions with a separate database for each associated application or website. This setup requires manual sync between the databases, but it works for businesses with a low number of users and low flux. Since the scale is small, the manual sync isn’t really that inefficient.
At Corevist, we’ve implemented projects on either end of this spectrum. We work with businesses to understand their business processes. With that information, we’re ready to advise our clients on which type of SSO solution is best for them. We’ve worked with SAP Service Module, LDAP, Forgerock, IDM, and others to implement single sign on solutions. We’re well-equipped to recommend an SSO solution that fits your business needs.
SSO: The future of B2B eCommerce
With all of these benefits, SSO is poised to become the new standard in B2B eCommerce login technology. The more this trend is adopted, the more both parties in the B2B transaction will see increased value. At Corevist, we’re well-equipped to implement SSO as part of a B2B eCommerce solution.
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