P2P and eProcurement: Don’t Assume Folks Will Find What They’re Looking For (Part 1)

This post is based on content contained in the Spend Matters Compass series paper: Avoiding “Dumb Ways to Die”: eProcurement and P2P Style Adoption Scenarios to Breathe Life into Implementations. The paper, authored by Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell and Jason Busch, is available for free download in our Spend Matters research library.

Just because you’ve spent millions (or tens of millions) of dollars on an SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft or Ariba implementation – let alone P2P tools from dozens of other organizations – doesn’t mean that your employees will be able to find what they’re looking for. Consider, for example, the case of an organization that has an ERP and eProcurement system, complete with contracts for all vendors and catalogs for SKU-based goods and items. Every employee has access to an electronic requisitioning tool with linkages to budget/cost-centers, appropriate workflow approvals and documentation, etc.

Yet, they still can't find what they need – at least not quickly, and not for the majority of the time. Helping end-users find what they are looking for – and what the company would like them to find (i.e., preferred suppliers and items/services with associate preferred rates) is what effective eProcurement should be all about. It is about fail-proofing the process to guarantee that those needing something are directed to the right suppliers via the right “process path” (e.g., a procurement buyer when no preferred catalog or supplier exists) and associated system. This makes the process easy to use AND easy to monitor or control.

This effective performance has a much greater value proposition than realizable eProcurement efficiencies—by literally an order of magnitude. It also helps eliminate the endless chase of non-compliant “maverick” users, even though their malfeasance isn't usually the root cause of non-compliance. Rather, the cause lies in the inability of procurement and IT to create an environment where it’s easy to do the right thing and not so easy to do the “wrong” thing. Yet, this top-shelf prize of eProcurement effectiveness is fairly hard to achieve and consistently underestimated by even the best-known procurement organizations.

This then raises the simple question: Why?

Stay tuned as we continue to explore this topic in Part 2 of the series. Or download the full paper in our research library immediately.

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