The thought of choosing the right procurement system for your business can be tumultuous as the concerns that circle around the right procurement software could be that it is either too complicated or a threat to privacy. The main reason why it is so bickering is that as more and more millennials are filling the industry, there is a huge demand for improved sourcing technology that is more advanced than ever. Although today, there are many solutions and technologies to choose from, it is said that there has never been a good time to compare providers and select the best software that fits well with your business needs.
A few steps back in time
If we go back a few decades back in time, procurement software was available only as an on-premises system and was generally meant for larger enterprises with a fat budget. Today it has become more accessible due to cloud computing. With cloud technology on the rise, smaller organizations and decentralized companies also can afford and adopt procurement software. Cloud technology has certainly opened up channels for most businesses and choosing the right tool has never been so significant.
However, before taking the plunge and investing in procurement software, one must assess the best procurement software for your business house.
Here are some of the ways to create a checklist for incorporating the best procurement software for your organization:
- There needs to be mobile accessibility
- It should be easy to use
- It should be able to integrate with just about any ERP or accounting systems
- Agile onboarding and implementation
- Impeccable customer support
- Complete support for the Procure-to-Pay cycle
- Managing expenses
- Efficiency in operational and vendor management
Once you have ticked all the boxes, the next thing to determine is –
What Kind of Procurement Software You Need
In order to answer this question, we must first analyse what problems are we trying to solve? The answer will set the dice rolling and put forth an entire evaluation process. For instance, the most common area that can be improved with procurement automation is time management. Once you sit down with your team and find out where time is getting wasted the most, Is it sourcing? Supplier selection? Invoicing? This series of questions will enable you to determine what discrepancy your company has with current software and systems. It could be anything from an RFP tool, invoicing system, or a project management platform as per your requirement and need of the hour.
The second area of concern could be the lack of data or KPI tracking. If you are not able to track all your key metrics or get better spend transparency then the answer is to invest in a state of the art spend analytics software that can help with total procurement expenditure solutions across each location and category. This also allows your organization to maintain visibility and transparency.
The great switch
From tedious paperwork to procurement software, we have certainly come a long way in developing a platform to establish a smooth sailing business. With this great switch comes great responsibility to set a clear sense of priorities, research the market on who the key players are and what are the features they are offering?
Once the software walkthroughs are scheduled, all the key stakeholders should have a real talk about how to improve profitability and drive growth through robust procurement software.
Let us look at a few questions that a business owner needs to put on the table before shortlisting a sturdy procurement software:
Will the software integrate with the already in-use systems?
How much will the total cost be?
Will the total cost include training, maintenance, feature upgrades, etc?
Can we expect a scalable solution as our organization upscales?
Is there customization available, if yes then how much?
What is the duration of implementing the software?
Will customer support be in-house or outsourced?
Will customer support be available at varying time zones, and outside of business hours?
How do they counter system “outages” or bugs and in what time period will it be rectified?
‘NOT’ a one-stop-shop solution
Even though vendors claim that they are a one-stop-shop procurement management system, not all functions could be over the top. It is advisable to circle around all big questions before narrowing down because as a company one needs to look at a long-term relationship.
It is all about ROI
As a business house, we need to tread carefully in terms of spending massive sums of money on software. It has so happened that organizations buy some software only to never use it. The software may look promising but it would be pointless if we cannot
leverage it. It is not rocket science to do your own research, learn a thing or two about the software every day and become an expert yourself. Instead of ending up spending luxuriously, it is pragmatic to be strategic in our approach. Business houses should use technology to increase the value of their business and prove themselves to be unfeigned procurement leaders and earn accolades.