Procserve and Amazon – a genuinely innovative and exciting development

Procserve are known mainly in the UK public sector community. They run the UK central government’s eMarketplace, as well as similar marketplaces for the Welsh public sector, the police sector and others.  A decent business, an impressive Chief Executive in Nigel Clifford (who has successfully run much larger businesses in his past life), and good people to work with - I’ve chaired a few ‘roundtables’ for them over the last year or so.

However, their announcement today made at the CPO Event in Selsdon Park, Croydon, shows that they have an innovative streak and it might just propel them into a whole different league. They are developing a potential relationship with a small US firm you might have heard of called Amazon. Yes, that Amazon. As they say:

Working closely with Amazon, Procserve has developed a solution that enables any enterprise to access the Amazon marketplace to search for, and purchase, items using their corporate procurement solution as they would do with any other eProcurement enabled supplier. The solution is combined with Procserve’s ePayments, to completely remove the need for invoice processing, while still providing buyers with line item level VAT information and spend data.

Now when this was announced to a group of senior procurement people under NDA (in my presence) the other day, it was fascinating to see just how quickly they saw the opportunity here. There was a unanimously positive view of the development.

‘Our users are buying from Amazon anyway’ was a typical comment.  ‘This means we can get that spend under control, get the data, and start to manage it better’.

So users of the Procserve system will be able to search on the Amazon range from within the Procserve platform, but with very much an Amazon look and feel. (Note that Amazon merchants are not available as yet).  The user can then purchase – but the authorisation route is the user organisation’s standard process, so if sign-offs, budget codes or similar are required, that is still the case here. So the Amazon purchase becomes part of the usual ordering process.

Payment is the made by Purchasing Card or equivalent – it must be made immediately rather than billed later. And the Amazon spend data becomes part of the wider marketplace reporting, so detailed information about the purchases is captured (‘level 3’ data in payments-speak).

Based on the demonstration I’ve seen, it works in a quick, seamless and straightforward manner, and I think it will get a lot of interest in the public sector, and may help take Procserve more strongly into the private sector too. The firm don’t have exclusivity with Amazon, but they do have first mover advantage here – as far as we know, no-one else is doing this. And the development and integration work was significant, according to Jesper Lynge Petersen, the Procserve  CTO, so it may take competitors a while to catch up, if they choose to try.

We’ll have more on this to follow next week.

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *