Don’t Build Your Own eSourcing System – The Doctor Says So!

pins-564775_1280We published a short article here giving briefly some reasons why public sector organisations – well, anyone really – should not even think about developing their own eSourcing (or any eProcurement) system these days.

Now Michael Lamoureux , the Doctor of Sourcing Innovation, who also gave us his Ten Commandments last week, has really gone to town on this question and has produced four articles of his own, expanding out the reasons why doing so would be crazy. It is worth noting that the “doctor” comes from his PhD in Computer Science, no less, on top of his first degree and Masters in the same subject.

After a first article reviewing our post and giving an overview of the issues, he then digs into Spend Analysis, then looks at e-RFX and related topics, and finally complex sourcing and decision optimisation.

It is very good stuff; for instance, here is an excerpt from number three in his series, where he looks at various sourcing requirements, including e-auctions.

“Moving back to the auctions, we also have the requirement that the auction must be customized each time against a host of parameters that will include, but not be limited to, bid floors and ceilings per item and lot, minimum decrements, automatic time extensions, minimum time between bids for a single supplier, and so on. Furthermore, all of this must be evaluated in a system that supports … Real-time Distributed Communication with Fault Tolerance.

In an e-Auction, multiple bids are coming in at the same time, multiple updates must be pushed out at the same time, and formulas and weightings must be calculated and updated in real time so each supplier sees their true relative rank, and not just their true relative bid. This might sound easy-peasy, but you have to remember that even the average CS graduate has trouble with programming for concurrency”.

The articles are worth reading even if you are not thinking about building your own system, (and let’s face it, not many of you are, we hope) as good descriptions of the underlying complexity in many of the procurement and sourcing systems we pretty much take for granted. And I’m just glad the Doctor agreed with me – I would not want to get on the other side of any technology argument with him!

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