Why Content Matters to your e-procurement strategy - Sponsored Whitepaper

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While today’s procure-to-pay solutions are more robust, feature-rich and support some form of content management, signicant hurdles remain, particularly as the business need for eective content management moves from simple enablement to process and contract compliance support. Companies using “content 1.0” systems have limited capability to manage compliance to contracts and established purchasing standards. Equally as challenging is presenting the content to their users so that visibility is eectively controlled and nding products and services is simple and straight forward. Organizations that focus on getting their procurement systems up and running without consideration of these issues will nd success elusive. Companies need to understand the complexity of the product and service data their organizations work with and how users will access and interact with that data. If this isn’t carefully considered, companies may not derive the nancial and operational results they anticipate from their e-procurement initiatives.

In the beginning… Not that long ago, purchases were completed by searching through paper catalogs, lling out a requisition form and telephoning or faxing suppliers with orders. By the late 1990’s, e-requisitioning systems emerged on the scene with the promise of streamlining the manually intensive purchase-to-pay process. While these systems paved the way for many procurement organizations to transition from simple transaction processing to more strategic components of their business, there were major hurdles to widespread adoption. For one, how would all the content formally presented in a paper catalog be included in these systems? As more companies explored the use of e-requisitioning systems, they realized that maintaining product information was a signicant task.

One way technology providers responded to this issue was to push the burden back to the suppliers and have buyers access product data from the suppliers’ web sites—an e-procurement content “1.0” solution. This was not the best approach because it required every supplier to provide adequate internet-based catalogs and conform to each company’s standard for data processing. Furthermore, it put control in the suppliers’ hands, limiting control over selection and price, while requiring users to work with disparate systems instead of having standardized processes and controls for nding and buying products. As a result, some technology providers began to oer another solution; hosting catalogs on behalf of suppliers. While progress has been made, it has been more than ten years since the rst web-based procurement solutions were introduced and managing product content still remains to be a signicant challenge.

Companies need to understand the complexity of the product and service data their organizations work with and how users will access and interact with that data.

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