4 Ways Cloud Procurement Builds Value and Enhances Employees’ Everyday Experience.
by Salim Khalife, Founder & CEO
Workers no longer ask for sufficient technology to do their jobs, they expect more. In fact, an employer’s tech-savvy-ness ranks very high on candidates’ checklist on whether to take a job or not. In addition to attracting the best and brightest employees, embracing technology brings tremendous efficiencies to modern businesses, and perhaps nowhere are those efficiencies more important than in non-revenue generating departments like procurement, expense management, and payables. Staff in these roles need access to the technology tools that empower them to work smarter, eliminate manual workflows and duplicate data entry, and free them to exercise their creativity on strategic initiatives that can directly impact the company’s bottom line.
Below are four ways one technology tool — cloud procurement and spend management software – builds value in the organization by eliminating manual or redundant tasks, improving employee engagement, and empowering employees to work smarter and more strategically.
1. Integrate AP and Procurement Functions
In a recent Paystream Advisors survey, 60% of respondents cited a lack of visibility between departments as the top challenge facing their procurement and finance department staff. Poor inter-department communication was another challenge, cited by 40% of companies in the survey. And fully 48% felt the pain of manual data entry between applications.
Visibility, collaboration, and efficiency all get a boost from cloud procurement solutions. When payables and procurement are integrated, staff members spend less time on low-value tasks such as routing requisitions for approval, manually matching, routing, and approving invoices, rekeying invoices from one system to another, and researching over budget or out-of-policy purchases.
Integrating procurement and payables automates workflows, provides a single source of the truth accessible to all authorized employees, enforces business rules automatically, delivers visibility into purchasing activity, and promotes collaborative, real-time communication across the two departments. The result is lower procurement processing costs, and an empowered workforce able to focus more time on activities that add value.
2. Embrace Mobile Capabilities
It’s no secret that your firm’s employees rely on their mobile devices, both in and out of the office. With that in mind, it only makes sense to put the functionality they need to do their procurement and expense management tasks on those mobile devices.
By empowering employees with the ability to create requisitions and capture and submit expenses from their mobile devices, they can accomplish these tasks on their schedule, whenever and wherever they are working. In addition, mobile capabilities enable authorized personnel to view and approve requisitions and expense reports from their team while they are on the go — speeding the process and driving efficiency. And mobile solutions have been found to increase user adoption rates — a key driver of ROI in your procurement and expense management solutions.
3. Leverage PunchOut Catalog Capabilities
PunchOut is the name given to the technical protocol that allows you to directly connect to suppliers’ product catalogs from your organization’s cloud procurement application. If your supplier supports PunchOut, your company’s shoppers can browse and shop in real-time on a vendor’s website—from within your cloud procurement application. Upon check out, just like in your own guided buying catalogs, your cloud procurement software creates a requisition, ready for review and approval.
The advantages of using PunchOut are significant, both for procurement staff and for the employees that use it to shop. Since shopping occurs in real time on the vendor’s site, pricing and quantities are always up to date; you don’t have to maintain the information as you do with your own catalogs; and the requisitions are created automatically with no manual data entry. Shoppers gain a better user experience, as they are shopping on a familiar website, accessible from right inside the cloud procurement application. It adds up to more spend under your control, time savings throughout the cycle, and overall improved efficiency.
4. Assemble Guided Buying Catalogs
Your procurement department works hard to establish preferred supplier agreements offering the best terms and pricing, but these can be tested when someone in the organization needs to buy something. Guided buying catalogs are an easy and effective way to direct users to the right items, the right policies, and your preferred suppliers.
Guided buying catalogs empower users across the entire organization to shop for goods and create requisitions when and where it’s convenient for them, without the need to search out the best supplier and pricing for each item. The use of catalogs also helps your procurement team be more efficient with their time. Rather than entering purchase orders, they can spend time developing supplier relationships, for example, to ensure the company is always getting the best pricing. The requisitions created as part of the shopping process are automatically routed for approval, speeding the purchasing cycle and eliminating the manual touchpoints that frustrate stakeholders and compromise efficiency and accuracy.
Guided buying catalogs enhance the overall user experience by speeding, simplifying, and automating routine purchase requests so buyers and procurement staff can get back to their jobs.
Technology is the Enabler
Like virtually every other vital business function, the procurement cycle benefits from a strong process framework, enabled by technology. Cloud procurement solutions provide that technology framework, building efficiencies and business value throughout the procurement cycle, and enabling your entire team to focus their attention on the organization’s core mission.
We invite you to view this on-demand webinar, to learn more about how cloud procurement solutions build value in organizations (and earn CPE credits!), starting by automating processes and reaching the pinnacle by empowering your workforce.
About the author:
Salim Khalife is the founder, president and CEO of Paramount WorkPlace, a technology company that develops, sells, and supports advanced web-based and mobile requisition, procurement, and expense software solutions for mid-market organizations. The company introduced its first cloud-based SaaS requisition application in 1997, and continues to innovate and expand its partnerships and integrations ever since. Learn more at www.paramountworkplace.com.