5 Critical Features of a Good eProcurement System

Charlotte Sutton
Charlotte Sutton,
As more finance and procurement professionals move to Spend Control and eProcurement software to help reduce costs, improve controls and mitigate risk, it is important to have a baseline of required features in any solution you select for your needs. Below are 5 critical ones to consider. For the full list, visit PROACTIS Solution Features.
Intuitive Design
One of the most important keys to success of a procurement system is the ability to gain organisation-wide adoption. It must enable a cultural shift that empowers staff to execute routine daily purchases on a self-service basis within established organisational controls. Department managers, purchasing professionals, and even suppliers must find it to be highly productive and easy to learn.
  • Employees - inductive buying & visibility of requests
  • Department managers - automated account coding, one-click approvals & visibility of the cost pipeline
  • Purchasing professionals - supplier on boarding support, automated sourcing events, electronic RFx questionnaires & centralised contract management
  • Finance professionals - buying of PO, pre-coded order lines, automated invoice matching & cost pipeline visibility
  • Suppliers - easy electronic interaction & self service
Fully Internationalised‚Äč
eProcurement systems should be designed to be used in any and many business cultures, providing a user interface in any language and any currency, managing multiple tax regimes and supporting many payment/banking methodologies.

Deployment Options
You will want deployment options to fit any organisation and business model, today and tomorrow. Whether your organisation is centralised or it works as a distributed, perhaps multi-national, enterprise. Perhaps the need is for internal control and streamlined process, or maybe for more electronic communications with suppliers. It might be that access to external catalogues or supplier website sis important, or perhaps visibility of internal contracts. A good eProcurement system should match any or all of the deployment requirements to deliver against these needs.

Built-in Control
In order to truly streamline the procurement process, users throughout the organisation must be empowered to perform the appropriate steps of the purchasing cycle. But without built-in controls enforced automatically by the supporting system, it is impractical to expect everyone to understand and comply with all the policies and procedures. Controls must be built into each stage of the procurement process, and have the flexibility to enforce the corporate rule book.
  • Financial Controls - automated finance coding, commitment checking, invoice matching & audit trails
  • Buying controls - catalogue access, inductive buying & transaction templates
  • Sourcing controls - sourcing projects, organisation-specific rules & authorisation engine
Fully electronic processes
Lastly, and by no means least, fully electronic processes to eliminate paper based inefficiencies. Manual purchasing processes that rely on paper documents for requisitions, POs, invoices,catalogues, supplier questionnaires etc. are inherently cumbersome, slow, prone to loosing documents, and unable to provide management visibility. Partially automated processes only slightly alleviate these problems.
A good eProcurement system should deliver fully electronic processes with sophisticated process flow and rules-driven workflow.