Procurement software is certainly not a novel concept in the business sphere; but its importance has jumped manifold during recent years. The recession in particular, has made organizations realize the importance of spend management in business, and how computerized purchasing solutions can help bring down costs through increased automation This, among other reasons, has made e-procurement solutions all but a necessity today. E-procurement was introduced in the early 90s. Back then, the internet was a new and exciting thing, with a world of possibilities, not unlike 3d printing is today.
One of the earliest business applications of the Internet was procurement software and it generated immense hype. At that time, purchasing was a pain, since everything from requisitions and approvals to supplier contract awards was on paper. Over the years, e-procurement saw numerous highs and lows, but has now finally reached maturity.
One must remember though, it isn’t as if all e-procurement solutions actually do all that they are supposed to do. Organizations need to do considerable research before making a decision on which purchasing software to use. Most e-procurement, even today, virtually delivers nothing in terms of business efficiency. Let’s take a brief look at how organizations can evaluate procurement software solutions and choose the right fit for themselves.
When choosing procurement software, keep an eye out for these essential features:
Product Selection: Through use of punchout catalogs, modern web based purchasing systems display products from a variety of vendors. This makes purchasing decisions easier by allowing one to compare and select the right products.
Purchase Order: All relevant data is organized in one place on the software, enabling the right people to know about all purchases. This facilitates the process of purchase orders being approved and sent to the vendors for timely delivery of goods.
Electronic Bill Handling: By matching invoices to orders, procurement software can handle the payment of bills electronically.
Spend Analysis: This one is possibly the biggest reasons companies today are flocking towards e-procurement. Advanced cloud based procurement tools have a business intelligence side analyzes business spend, delivering more bottom-line savings to the company.Evaluating Purchasing Solutions
While available features and functions should certainly not be ignored when deciding procurement software for your company, they should not be the sole considerations. One must base their decision on what matches their needs and what they expect will work for them. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when evaluating purchasing solutions.
Is your purchasing department responsible for direct procurement of indirect procurement? Your purchasing solution must match the type of procurement.
Does the software operate in compliance with corporate governance laws and accounting regulations like the Sarbanes Oxley Act?
How much can the purchase save you in monetary terms in the long run?
Does it help you achieve strategic procurement?
Is commodity purchasing streamlined if you use the software?
These are just some of the major issues one needs to address when evaluating purchasing solutions of today.
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