ESM Solutions has sponsored research into Best Practices in Electronic Procurement, the use of Procurement Process Automation to save time and money. Our research shows that the goal of Procurement Process Automation is to overcome the six “Points of Pain” that traditional systems (including those that incorporate online shopping) inflict upon their users. These “Points of Pain” relentlessly and inexorably deplete funds, resources, energy and morale. These factors can prevent an organization from truly achieving the promise of electronic procurement solutions.
Project Champion – All implementations require an executive level individual to help drive the cultural changes that are inherent with any software deployment. The champion needs to be able to articulate the importance of the project and communicate their full commitment in getting the applications rolled out to the entire organization and removing any barriers to changing outdated procedures.
Buy-in from Purchasing Department – The purchasing department will own the applications from a system administration perspective as well as being subject matter experts to the end user population. They need to understand their roles and responsibilities and be committed to removing obstacles to the process and helping to promote the process change. If they do not buy in, the project can stall and become burdensome because nothing is being accomplished.
Customer Resources (Priorities & Focus) – Even though our applications can be deployed within 6-8 weeks, the participation of the purchasing department is critical and cannot be completed within that timeframe if they are not able to focus on the project activities. Many of the activities are minimal, but if management does not make it a high priority with other duties, the schedule will slip.
IT Participation - Even though the software is a hosted solution owned by the purchasing department, IT will be needed during the interface installation, testing and production monitoring phases. Our interface will be tested with the GL partner, but each customer has specific technology requirements that will need to be reviewed to support the interface connection and network communication policies (ie. Firewall and DB settings.)
Train-the-trainer model - Our professional services methodology allows for us to deploy our solutions quickly. We empower the purchasing department (as owners) to be responsible for basic administration functions. We will educate them on the application so they can duplicate the training to the rest of the organization.
Leverage Application Functionality – In order for us to deploy our applications quickly, we highly recommend reviewing/changing existing processes to utilize system functionality rather than trying to customize the application.
Phased Project implementation – Implementations are designed to be rolled out in phases to allow for the purchasing department to understand the application and potential impact on the organization. Phase I can include a single department and should be one that is close for handling initial support questions.
Seven Milestones – Each project is unique due to customer business processes; however, deploying ESM Solutions’ customized solution can be broken down into seven basic steps: