Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 1 of 5: Technology

September 3rd, 2015

What characteristics are you looking for in an eProcurement solution provider?

 

Today’s  is from our SafeSourcing Blog Archives.

Strategic sourcing companies each have their own unique offering whether that is based on a price model, category focus, supplier database or some other defining trait, but the overall goal is to help their customers source products and services easier, smarter and with an end result that creates more value than the customer could achieve on its own. Over the next five days we will be looking at some of features and characteristics you should be looking at when evaluating a new or existing sourcing partner. Not all of the characteristics will carry the same weight for all companies but each should be an area you examine when evaluating who to partner with.

Browser and Mobile Device-ready – We live in a world where the expectation, not the exception, is that business related tools and solutions will be available in some form to users wherever they are. Whether the solution is a true cloud based Software-as-a-Service model or not, customers expect to have some level of functionality and access to data from their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Part of ensuring this is possible is the amount of development resources that are dedicated to testing new versions of the major web browsers on the market as well as providing a mobile ready interface if not a native iPhone or Android application that can be downloaded and secured.

3rd Party Data integration – Strategic sourcing companies deal with a lot of data much of which they house in their own internal system and make available for analysis and reporting. Many times, however, information will need to then make its way to a Contract Management system, PO system or catalog system that is being used already. In the perfect world, you would select a strategic sourcing partner that had all three of these modules as well as others where the integration was already completed and data flow seamless. Since this is not possible for many companies, the ability for their eProcurement partner to provide data feeds to their existing systems is very important and valuable piece to evaluate when looking at strategic sourcing partners.

Reduced IT involvement – IT departments by and large are one of the busiest departments in most companies. Their projects are scheduled in many cases, months ahead of time so that effective planning can be put together to ensure the project’s success. When this is coupled with the fact that technology is moving so fast and both software and equipment are advancing than most IT departments can keep up, it is understandable that getting a new project on their schedule can be difficult and many projects can stall for as much as a year if they require a high degree of IT involvement. That is one of the reasons why hosted cloud based solutions are gaining more popularity because the involvement from IT is reduced and the capital cost of equipment is reduced as well. IT involvement in the deployment of an eProcurement solution is something that should be considered carefully and balanced against other implementation timelines.

With a world that changes daily from technological perspective, it is important to understand the foundation of the solutions you plan to use to ensure that those tools and the technology they are designed around will continue to provide you with the best in class solutions moving into the future. Tomorrow we will look at the libraries and databases from which your sourcing events will be based on. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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