July 26, 2021
3 Ways to Optimize Your IT eProcurement Solution
Change management, customization and insights can assist organizations in buying efficiently and strategically.
The benefits of eProcurement can seem relatively straightforward. A unified platform increases automation, improves the end-user experience and streamlines processes, among other outcomes. Often, I see organizations invest in these solutions, then stop short of fully realizing their potential value.
That’s unfortunate for several reasons, not least because eProcurement implementations can be lengthy and complex. When we support customers in these projects, we often find opportunities to help them optimize. Here are the most common ways to improve the short- and long-term ROI of eProcurement.
1. Recognize That eProcurement Is a Paradigm Shift
First, understand the extent of change management that eProcurement may require. This is more than simply a change in who’s buying. It is a change in who has access to processes for purchasing, accounts payable and accounts receivable, as well as the scope of reporting. All these considerations may influence what an organization ultimately derives from the solution.
IT and procurement staff may take the lead in deployment, but it’s essential to plan for the other departments that will be affected too. Early on, stakeholders need to understand why changes are happening. Then, they should receive the training they need to help the transition go smoothly.
Growth often drives a move to eProcurement, but growth also calls for a re-evaluation of policy and process. For example, how many approval levels are in place? Are there bottlenecks? When the company was small, it might have been fine for the CIO to approve every expense, but at the enterprise level, such a process can slow down fulfillment and drive up costs. Unfortunately, organizations often try to shoehorn a platform into place without making the necessary structural adaptations.
2. Increase Efficiency by Customizing the eProcurement Platform
Customization is another route to optimization, and it’s one of CDW’s key differentiators. For instance, we work with about 1,400 manufacturers and have about 530,000 line items. An organization may want to allow general users to see just 50 of those items, another group to see one-third of our catalog, and IT staff to see everything.
Certain industries also want the capability to customize contract parameters. Here, too, we can enable customers to show all the allowable contracts, or adjust them by price or region, for example. The more that an organization can customize the platform, the more efficient the purchasing process will be.
3. Use Purchasing Insights for Planning and Cost Savings
eProcurement can deliver insights and information that allow an organization to buy strategically, which can be very powerful. If organizations can accurately forecast their needs, they can achieve better volume pricing agreements. They can consolidate spending for additional discounts, rather than ordering piecemeal throughout the year. They can plan more effectively for standard capital expenses versus break-fix anomalies.
Better planning also reduces risks associated with supply chain delays. In the wake of the pandemic, many organizations have decided they can no longer rely on just-in-time distribution. eProcurement addresses that concern by enabling organizations to track and analyze purchasing in advance.
It’s surprisingly common for organizations to roll out an eProcurement solution and then hit the pause button. Those that use their solutions to the fullest will achieve much better ROI, now and in the future.