Questions to Ask an e-Procurement Vendor by the doctor of Sourcing Innovation http://blog.sourcinginnovation.com/2007/12/17/the-12-days-of-xemplification-day-5--eprocurement.aspx <ul><li>e-Procurement is simply the automation of the basic procurement cycle </li></ul><ul><li>using information technology and the internet. </li></ul><ul><li>e-Procurement is a straight forward process, and any solution that </li></ul><ul><li>supports it should be straight forward as well. </li></ul><ul><li>However, not all e-Procurement solutions are created equal, and not all </li></ul><ul><li>solutions are as straight-forward as they should be. </li></ul>
Question 1 Does it support requisitions, purchase orders, good receipts, invoices and m-way matching in an integrated manner? You don't just want two way matching, or even three-way matching -- you want m-way matching that gives you the ability to match all of the data in the system that relates to a given purchase order. Before the purchase order is issued, you want to make sure it matches the requisition that was authorized. Before an invoice is paid, you want to make sure that it is for the items in the purchase order, that were received and annotated in the goods receipt, at the rates agreed to in the contract, and at the rates in the current price list if the contract rate is defined as a discount off of a catalogue or market price. Thus, even 3-way invoice to purchase order, goods receipt, and contract might not even be enough functionality for every buy! And anything less definitely will not cut it
Question 2 Does it integrate with a modern supply network? The whole point of e-Procurement is that it's supposed to make the process of buying easy! If you have to use a separate application to find what you need, and then manually enter that information into your e-Procurement application, that's not easy. Moreover, the "compliance" and "decreased maverick spend" many vendors promise will never materialize, because you can't even be sure the purchase order is correct since human error can creep in at the requisition stage.
Question 3 Does it integrate with your payment system and allow payments to be correlated with invoices? A lot of the e-Procurement solutions out there don't do e-Payment, and that's fine, as long as they recognize that it's not an e-Procurement solution if it doesn't recognize payments! Simply noting that an invoice is paid is not only not very useful (especially if the supplier disputes the fact), but probably not in compliance with good accounting practice or Sarbanes Oxley. At least one system has to track complete payment information and correlate that to invoices in your enterprise, and it should be your procurement system.