The market for software procurement solutions has exploded in the past decade, and business leaders are now both blessed and cursed by the overwhelming variety of tantalizing software options which promise to cure whatever spending complications are hindering those leaders’ companies.
While it can be argued that adopting any software solution whatsoever is a superior alternative to doing nothing at all, or even better than attempting to rectify the problem manually, the reality is that some procurement software is thoroughly outdated and outmoded compared with some of the fresh, new solutions that have been introduced in recent years.
In order to help you navigate software-solution waters that are now log-jammed with contenders and pretenders alike, here is a brief and practical guide for selecting the very best procurement software for your company.
Follow the Leaders
Without question, cloud-based solutions are the primary driver behind some of the most significant growth in the procurement software space. While on-premise solutions still maintain a respectable level of popularity, cloud-based software solutions permit companies to deliver increasingly superior remedies without also having to maintain the technical staff or infrastructure required by on-premise solutions. In particular, small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are adopting cloud-based solutions in large numbers, which provides them the double benefit of optimizing their spending while jettisoning nonessential staff members. As a result, these businesses reduce spending in multiple ways, and are able to route more money toward the essential functions and purchases that drive productivity.
Include the Essentials
The standard protocol for integrating a procurement solution into your company suggests that the best procurement software solutions all possess four key features. First, your potential software solution must be able to integrate with your present suppliers and infrastructure, as well as other procurement solutions. Next, in the interest of transparency, the proposed solution requires the ability to display all of the relevant data involved in the process of identifying the most ideal purchasing opportunities. Third, the procurement software must possess the ability to bid in a competitive fashion, because a competitive bidding process is the only true way to guarantee competitive pricing by maximizing the number of suppliers and driving down the price of goods and services. Finally, the best procurement software will be able to automate its processes, thereby minimizing the amount of time businesses spend on manual attempts to secure its products at the lowest possible price.
Gaining control of your company’s procurement processes rarely involves a one-time fix. Instead, it often requires an assortment of specialized procurement solutions to address the specificities of the different gradients of activity that fall beneath the procurement banner. For example, procurement leaders that authorize the use of one procurement solution to address the majority of their spending may ultimately realize that irregular, low-dollar purchases may fall outside of the realm of spending that their primary procurement solution is able to control. Fortunately for them, procurement software has been developed to deal with this very issue, just as several other options exist for managing virtually every other procurement-related difficulty that might emerge.
Keep Your Eyes on the Future
Procurement software is rapidly evolving. Even as companies look to adopt software solutions into their existing processes, software developers are looking to harmonize the latest technological advancements within the solutions they create. One example of this is the growing interest in Blockchain, and the invitation of the Blockchain trend into the procurement space. Because of its ability to generate unmatched transparency, to digitize several essential transactional processes and to increase efficiency, Blockchain is presently being scrutinized by several key procurement insiders to see if it can become a universally applied solution. Without question, further innovations will continue to influence the creation of future procurement software, and business owners and managers that remain glued to the latest technological trends will have the keenest understanding of how future software can best serve their companies’ needs.