As a procurement professional, you are the person in the best position to choose e-procurement software.
Here are 5 steps to help you stay focused as you search for the perfect e-sourcing solution.
1. Understand the “why” behind your need.
Cost savings are not always the biggest driver behind procurement-related software changes. Increasingly, the “whys” are divided into two primary categories: dissatisfaction with the incumbent solution and process improvement. Check out the chart on the left to help you understand your current problems and what you should look for in e-procurement software.
2. Try before you buy.
A demo from a salesperson and a spreadsheet of functionalities is not enough to truly evaluate an e-procurement solution. You actually need to see how it fits into organization’s processes, whether there are any functionality gaps, and how easy it is to use on a daily basis. Sign up for a demo that at least lets you run several RFPs before purchasing.
3. Don’t get overwhelmed with long lists of features.
It’s easy to fall into the thinking that more is better - “If there are more features, then all possible needs will be covered.” While you want your solution to have enough features to meet your needs, more features will mean a higher price and more complexity. Avoid paying for more than what you need by making sure you understand your organization’s specific needs (see step #1). Solve your problems, not the problems described by the salesperson.
4. Consider cloud-based solutions.
Procurement isn’t the only department strapped for time; IT is as well. With such time constraints to deal with, looking for solutions in the cloud could be the right approach. Cloud-based solutions have fewer startup costs since there’s no hardware to buy or expensive databases to install. Most importantly, updates are automatic, and there’s no infrastructure to maintain. Cloud-based e-sourcing tools might be the perfect solution if you’re looking to implement an e-sourcing solution quickly and efficiently.
5. Involve your stakeholders.
When it comes to purchasing and implementing an e-procurement solution, involve everyone from the C-suite on down. User adoption will greatly improve if the users themselves are included in the decision-making process. Plus, involving the C-suite will show how Procurement can provide value to the company and help them achieve their overall goals. This article can help you craft a convincing argument. (And if you’re not sure how to identify your stakeholders, check out this article.)