eProcurement Troubles: “Globalizing” P2P (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.

For some economic and policy wonks (and New York Times columnists), the world seems to be flat. But for most procurement organizations, the notion of “think globally, but act locally” is a challenging proposition and far from reality. We still must find ways of delivering a personalized and localized experience based on a range of criteria in the business. Geography-specific taxes/customs/duties, regulations, unique cross-border requirements… the list can be long!

For transactional systems, while local and personalized requirements may not map one-to-one with broader procurement globalization needs, the list of challenges can be just as long. And few, if any, first-generation approaches to eProcurement were truly geared to support a global deployment.

Procurement also differs from other business functions in that it needs enhanced support for category-specific (and lower level commodity-specific) workflow and personalization. Implementing this level of detail has been a problem in the trenches, despite what many providers claim.

Technology vendors, along with those implementing their solutions, need to realize that it’s not just an issue of services procurement or catalog-based. Rather, it is an increasing sophistication of factors such as role-based screen tailoring, the lexicon of words (e.g., flexible data dictionaries for field names and help text) and advanced multilingual support in the realm of global captive processing centers. These are but a few areas.

More advanced procurement organizations have begun to parameterize their approval hierarchies by region, create sub-types of global/regional workflows, tailor field appearance/ naming/sequencing, and tune the workflow to the buy-pay transactional channels tied to the unique requirements for IT equipment, plant equipment, print, direct goods, logistics and more. Across many of these areas, the key lies as much in investing the time to configure the appropriately right-sized processes as it does in making sure that unique workflow requirements are supported during an implementation.

Download the full paper on which this post is based: 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.

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