Atos Procurement Technology Survey (part 3) – Lessons and Thoughts

We’ve already published parts 1 and 2 of our review of the Atos Procurement Technology Satisfaction Survey 2014 here and here. The survey picked up a high and worrying level of dissatisfaction amongst users of procurement technology, and we highlighted the poor scores generally for P2P, sourcing and analytics systems and discussed the factors driving this.

Atos did not ask respondents about specific software vendors and packages - probably sensible given both sample size and the possible sensitivity of the answers! But there is still much we can draw from this – one of the most thought-provoking surveys I’ve certainly seen for some time.

  1. The industry needs to look hard at its performance. Usability, training and support, functionality that meets business needs; we all know what is needed here. All provided at a fair, value for money price of course!
  2. However, it takes both sides to make a successful implementation. Often, it appears to be the way the product is used rather than the product itself that leads to the issues. For example, sourcing software constrained by poor or bureaucratic process, and the spend analytics products suffering from users not really understanding what to do with the data provided. So the buy-side also needs to take a good look at how we can get better value out of these products too.
  3. If you haven't invested for a while, the survey results suggest that current and up-to-date software products are significantly more likely to provide you with a happy and successful experience than previous generation products (products over five years old were given significantly lower scores).
  4. Contract and supplier management products, if you haven't invested yet, seem to stand a better chance of delivering to your expectations than most other types of procurement software.
  5. Think hard about your business requirements. Compromising on an ERP system that isn’t really designed to do what you want it to, but looks like it might “just about work,” is likely to lead to dissatisfaction according to the survey.
  6. I'm sure the providers do their own surveys of clients. I wonder if they find a similar picture? Or would users even admit to their suppliers if they're not happy - it doesn't reflect well on the user to own up sometimes, so it may be an independent and anonymous survey like that from Atos is better at getting to the truth!

On that basis, I'd also hope Atos might make this an annual survey. It would be good to track whether the situation improves as general technology capability and power improves. And don’t forget you can download the whole survey here.

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