The competitiveness of businesses is increasingly dependent on their electronic networks with customers, suppliers, and partners. While the strategic and operational impact of external integration and IOS adoption has been extensively studied, much less attention has been paid to the organizational and technical design of electronic relationships. The objective of our longitudinal research project is the development of a framework for understanding and explaining B2B integration. Drawing on existing literature and empirical cases we present a reference model (a classification scheme for B2B Integration). The reference model comprises technical, organizational, and institutional levels to reflect the multiple facets of B2B integration. In this paper we investigate the current state of electronic collaboration in global supply chains focussing on the technical view. Using an in-depth case analysis we identify five integration scenarios. In the subsequent confirmatory phase of the research we analyse 112 real-world company cases to validate these five integration scenarios. Our research advances and deepens existing studies by developing a B2B reference model, which reflects the current state of practice and is independent of specific implementation technologies. In the next stage of the research the emerging reference model will be extended to create an assessment model for analysing the maturity level of a given company in a specific supply chain.