Building strong and mutually beneficial relationships with vendors without spending hours managing them is every procurement leader’s dream. But how does one achieve this? Manual procurement means loads of paperwork, data silos, missing compliances, delayed payments, delayed or incomplete deliveries, incomplete paperwork and more. With most organizations operating online, digitizing your procurement or investing in a innovative & reliable eProcurement platform is the way forward. Today, the market is flooded with a plethora of eProcurement platforms and choosing the one that best fits your unique business needs can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider such as functionality, customization & integration capabilities, cost, scalability, and more. In this blog, we help you understand why you should be investing in one, and the factors to consider while choosing the right eProcurement platform for you. Let’s dive in!
What does the eProcurement process entail?
eProcurement platforms are highly sophisticated digital solutions that enable procurement teams to streamline and automate their procurement systems. The procurement process flow typically involves:
- Placing a detailed order request to the procurement team.
- Vendor selection (taking a quote from minimum 3 vendors).
- Submitting a purchase request with details such as name of the department/person placing the request, quantity and description, vendor information, and final purchase price.
- Creating a purchase order.
- Submission of invoice and order delivery details by the vendor.
- Releasing the payment to the vendor.
E-procurement creates the entire process flow online, which helps eliminate paperwork, streamlines the entire procure-to-pay process, and facilitates transparent interactions between the various parties involved.
The eProcurement platform landscape
eProcurement platforms are cloud-based procurement management software that provide tools to digitize each step of the procurement process. The platforms also unite critical processes of procurement like sourcing, purchasing, risk mitigation, spend management, and vendor management on a single interface. The types of eProcurement platforms available in the market include cloud-based eProcurement apps to manage the entire process, ERP systems, and EDI (Electronic data interchange) software. While ERP systems are now delivered via the cloud, EDIs operate on intranet or a closed network. The eProcurement platform market is saturated with several point solution players who ‘specialize’ in eProcurement, typically offering basic functionality apt for relatively small businesses. Then there are solution providers, who have a standalone eProcurement offering, but have a comprehensive suite of solutions that, when integrated with each other, offer powerful functionality. The creme de la creme, however, offer an AI-led procurement solutions, elevating your processes to new heights. However, considering the dynamics of work trending toward hybrid and remote models, the future of eProcurement software tends towards ensuring ease of use, and maximizing adoption – a common problem for 90% of procurement implementations. CPOs are more recently, looking out for eProcurement platforms that can stand the test of time, constantly innovate, and neutralize P2P as a hotspot for them – a solution that can reduce the procurement process to something as easy as shopping on Amazon.
How to choose the right eProcurement platform
Choosing the right platform involves doing a thorough evaluation of your own requirements before you start evaluating the various procurement management solutions available in the market.
- Evaluate your organization’s needs: As a first step, thoroughly evaluate your unique business requirements and needs. This involves not just evaluating the needs of the procurement team, but also other departments who will use the platform for their needs. What are the pain points in your current procurement process that you wish to address? Are you already using an ERP system or an accounting software for some parts of the procurement process flow which you may want to integrate with the new eProcurement platform, and will your prospective vendor be able to do it in a seamless manner?
- Define your objective: What do you want to achieve as a organization by digitizing your procurement function? These outcomes should be informed by your business needs. Typical objectives include cost savings, improved efficiency & compliance, etc. Most eprocurement platforms will promise to deliver on some or most of these asks. However, a number of factors dictate whether these objectives can be achieved – diligent digitization, effective change management, and user adoption. Ensure you choose a partner who can deliver the outcomes that facilitate your success.
- Involve stakeholders in final decision-making: While the procurement team are typically the final decision-makers in procurement solution purchases, there are a number of stakeholders who should be involved in the process – including the CIO, CFO, and the business users actually using the tools to get a clear picture of where priorities lie, what are the ground-level challenges, and assess their readiness for change.
Now that you have identified your business needs, objectives and goals the next step is to evaluate the various eProcurement solutions available. To ensure you arrive at a carefully considered decision – a long-term partner who can match your organization’s appetite for growth & innovation – there are several parameters you should consider –
Good eProcurement platforms must include functionalities such as requisition management, supplier management, purchase order management, contract management, invoice management, and inventory management in order to streamline and automate the entire P2P process end-to-end. A good starting point can be, making a list of non-negotiable features and functionality for your organization and evaluate the various solutions available. This includes features that you anticipate you will need in the future. Therefore, you need to evaluate not only vendors who can meet your current needs, but also have a promising product roadmap, aligned with your goals. AI is one such ‘future’ need that many organizations shelve for later, not realizing they’re steadily falling behind. Zycus offers a cloud-based eProcurement platfrom that is flexible and offers customization to suit your unique business needs. Our solution is spearheaded by our Merlin AI that can Assist users with a smooth, guided buying experience.
In today’s dynamic business environment organizations need to invest in solutions that can scale as the business grows and accommodate not just the present but future business needs as well. When choosing an eProcurement platform, consider the number of users the software can support, the volume of data it can handle, and its ability to integrate into other segments of your procurement tech stack seamlessly.
- Ease of integration
Chances are that you are already using various third-party ERP tools, CRM, accounting software and more which you may not be ready to part with yet. To maintain continuity, cohesiveness, data sanctity & accuracy, seamless integration with existing systems is a must.
- Cost and ROI
Picking a new eProcurement software or switching solutions come with distinct costs – both monetary, and otherwise. While evaluating solutions, ask your vendor about projections for savings in money, time, and effort – case studies of their implementations elsewhere, to understand whether the outlay is going to be worth the return.
People are naturally averse to change. Hence, choose a software that’s inviting and has obvious improvements over the status quo. Zycus, through its award-winning UI, provides an unparalleled experience, making users feel like they’re purchasing items on Amazon, driving user-adoption for you.
- Security and compliance
Your organization deals with invaluable confidential data, naturally requiring high standards of security and protection to avoid leaks & damage. Zycus’ eProcurement software prioritizes data security and compliance through robust measures. Our solution implements encryption, secure data transmission, access controls, and regular audits to safeguard your sensitive procurement information. Complying with industry standards, such as GDPR and ISO 27001, our software ensures data protection and privacy, providing you with peace of mind regarding security and regulatory requirements.
- Support and training
The responsibility of a solution provider does not stop at implementing and delivering a software solution. As part of your significant investment, you deserve the required support and training, vital for the success of any digital transformation. Solution providers should also provide a continual feedback mechanism to help users solve challenges they face. Ask your service provider for training materials, online knowledge base, policy on software updates, and the support of a responsive support team. Zycus has training programs, such as user manuals, video tutorials, and live training sessions. Additionally, we also have support channels, quick response times, and dedicated executors assigned. If you are looking for an innovative & reliable eProcurement solution, the above factors should help you in making a decision. If you’d like to know more about Zycus’ extensive suite of solutions, drop by our eProc page! If you’d like some personal attention & help understanding how Zycus can help your organization, book a demo with us!