Colleges and universities across the United States are well known for ground-breaking discoveries and inventions. But behind the scenes, the procurement teams that support the professors, researchers, and students have yet to experience their own digital revolution. Many educational institutions are still using outdated purchasing systems that restrict the ability of the procurement team to conduct broad-based online procurement with suppliers.
Some educational institutions, however, are beginning to explore using e-procurement software to simplify the procure to pay (P2P) process, changing the way that they purchase, sell, and transact. But before investing in e-procurement software, there’s a few things that purchasers need to know. First, it’s a case of “buyer beware,” as many procurement software providers have simply added a fresh coat of paint to outdated technology. Instead of offering a solution that solves the challenges of online procurement, this older generation of e-procurement solutions perpetuates frustrations by simply applying a new interface. Another critical component in the successful implementation and adoption of e-procurement for a buying organization falls to their suppliers, who must have a punchout commerce-capable site to engage with procurement.
In addition to these challenges, traditional e-procurement solutions defy the very reasons for which they were installed. Their non-intuitive user interface does little to improve compliance with contracts, and they don’t bring critical features to the user, such as real-time price comparisons. In the end, these ‘new’ solutions simply compound the frustrations of the procurement team.
As we move into 2019, it’s time that every authorized buyer at a school, college, or university – from teachers and librarians to IT teams – be able to access punchout commerce solutions that are truly the next generation of procurement.
Next-generation punchout commerce technology addresses these failures head-on by simplifying e-procurement, allowing both buying and selling organizations to achieve significant benefits. By automating every step of the procurement process, it’s easy to ensure compliance with contracts and business practices, as well as create an audit trail that integrates with existing financial software to eliminate the need for double entry. Moreover, because there’s no software to maintain, since everything is web-based, IT teams are freed from mundane tasks to focus on operations critical to student learning. And finally, buyers no longer need to use multiple sites and considerable time to find the best deal to save valuable budget.
But this is just the beginning of the punchout technology story for educational institutions. In our next article, we’ll take a deep dive into the benefits that agencies can realize by investing in an e-procurement system that’s equipped for the 21st century. After all, as a consumer, you’re accustomed to the ease of shopping online, so is there any reason you shouldn’t experience the same ease of use when purchasing at work?
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