Investing in eProcurement Technology? Read This First! (Please)

We recently published our new briefing paper, sponsored by Coupa, spend management software providers. It’s called “Should Mid-Market Organisations Invest in eProcurement Systems? The Key Questions Answered”.

It is targeted at what we have called "mid-market" organisations. Broadly, that means with annual revenues from perhaps a couple of hundred £ million up to perhaps a £ billion or so. Having said that, we'd like to think this will make interesting reading for any organisation thinking of investing in purchase to pay technology for the first time, or indeed looking to replace / upgrade / add to their current transactional purchasing systems.

It takes the form of a Q&A between me and an imaginary (and curious) CFO from a typical organisation in that position. It answers questions about technology, but more so looks at the business issues and benefits to be considered if you are considering investment in this area.

In today's excerpt, we look at a couple of questions around benefits and user acceptance. That second point is absolutely key in terms of implementing any systems these days, with a workforce that increasingly just will not accept unfriendly, non-intuitive software - they want stuff that replicates the user experience they are used to in their private lives, whether Twitter ,or Amazon or eBay!

That is getting more important as a new generation come into the workforce, and actual positive stakeholder use and acceptance of installed software is probably the number one factor for firms looking at investment and adoption today.

Do download the paper now, free on registration.

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Is the mix of benefits similar for everyone?

No, it really will be different for every organisation, depending on what they want and their current situation. Some really focus on cost savings, others, perhaps those going through a rapid growth phase, are really keen to get spend under control first of all. In other cases, organisations struggling with an ineffective and time-wasting current buying process will see the ease of use as the major benefit.

We have a fairly basic and mainly manual process and I recognise what your product could do for us. But I'm worried about how all our users, not just the specialists in procurement, will find it. Will they push back against what they perceive to be unnecessary bureaucracy?

Many mid-market firms have this concern. Anyone who historically went through an eProcurement implementation in the old days, usually with ERP providers, will tell stories of confusion for users, onerous procedures, long training courses and so on. Today, the best systems are very different. From a user point of view, they look and feel much more like consumer websites (Amazon, eBay etc.) They require virtually no training for the general user - you can literally pull up the screen and see intuitively how you can start ordering for instance. Many are mobile-friendly and have features that make life easier for the internal user, budget holder and administrator.

The perceived "bureaucracy" can still come from the way the firm defines the authorisation routes and so on, which are important to get right. But generally, with the ability to use the best systems in a mobile environment (so a manager can authorise requisitions from the train or the garden at the weekend) and the option of introducing alerts and reminders, it is likely that the workload for users and the time to process transactions will be very much less than under manual systems

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