Introduction – A review
Last time, when I addressed the theme of eCommerce evolution, I wrote that for eCommerce to evolve Buyers and Vendors alike must trust each other through communication and consistency in services, processes, and meeting commitments. And they must trust and implement technologies and innovations as well as further refine their practices and reach their goals.
Taking this metaphor one step further, evolution implies the survival of the fittest - a natural selection of those who subscribe to the benefits of eCommerce and understand and implement the steps necessary to fully participate.
eProcurement – What’s in a name?
Going forward, I’ll take the license to substitute the term, “eProcurement,” in preference to “eCommerce.” eProcurement, “the business-to-business sale and purchase of goods and services,” helps businesses simplify purchasing and reduce costs associated with operations and transactions processing. Since today’s Vendors and Buyers are able to more readily and openly communicate, eProcurement facilitates negotiating, contract and formulary management, order processing, spend management, and reporting.
eProcurement Evolution - Survival of the fittest
Five Survival Tactics
Survival Tactic #1: A commitment to “Patronizing Partnership” at all levels within the organization
The fittest Vendors and Buyers will internally promote and put into consistent practice procedures to support an open and free-flowing level of communication within and outside their organizations.
Survival Tactic #2: A commitment to the automated procurement process
The fittest will themselves employ “natural selection” to identify and retain those practices and processes which will enable eProcurement. This self-discovery will compare and contrast current practices with successful eProcurement requirements. Based on this discovery process, Buyers and Vendors will be able to naturally discard practices that are roadblocks and retain or acquire enabling practices. Concurrently, they must also have the tools of technology.
Survival Tactic #3: An IT infrastructure that supports eProcurement
Obtaining and implementing a web-based software application, which integrates all aspects of procurement from contract management to automated GL entries, is the first step in this natural selection process. Next, the fittest will have identified and secured necessary IT systems and infrastructure which will give them enterprise-class features, instant application service delivery and management, easy set-up and use, reliability, availability, responsiveness, security and encryption, scalability, data storage and backup, user and systems support services, Business Intelligence reporting, high availability, business continuity, interoperability with many platforms and 3rdparties, and disaster recovery. Many will find that Cloud Computing Services Providers offer the fittest features, flexibility, and affordability available.
Survival Tactic #4: Create a plan to meet the demand of eProcurement
The fittest have a plan that will put into effect their commitment, best practices, and the required technologies. The plan will include a specific statement of the goals; deadlines; obstacles; people, groups, and organizations which can assist; the benefits to achieving the goal; the skills needed to acquire the goals; and development of the plan.
Survival Tactic #5: Implement the plan
While this may appear to be a no-brainer, I think it’s important to state, because in the implementation of the plan, the fittest revisit the plan regularly to identify progress made and to readjust the plan’s milestones if necessary. The fittest stay focused.
Following these five survival tactics will help Vendors and Buyers naturally take the steps necessary to be among the fittest in this exciting new eProcurement Evolution world.
What steps has your organization taken to leverage the brave new world of eProcurement?
What benefits have you seen as a result?
 SearchCIO.com, definition, e-procuremet (supplier exchange)