The end-to-end digitalisation of all business areas dominates the priority lists in both small and large companies. In addition to the opportunity to successfully develop and implement new business models through modern technologies, process automation is considered a key driver of digital transformation. This is also true for procurement. It must professionalise itself and become more efficient, modern and agile. However, the implementation of digitisation projects in procurement is often more difficult than expected. One important reason is the sheer mass of electronic tools: From specialists to full-suite providers, there are around 200 digital tools for purchasing on the German-speaking market. The systems support you operationally, tactically and strategically in supplier, commodity group and risk management. In order to make an informed decision, you should therefore follow a few steps:
1. Evaluate your own starting position
At the beginning of the digitisation project, you should ask yourself where you stand, what your goals are and which project steps are necessary to achieve them. Operational procurement in particular is an excellent sector to digitise with automation tools relying on AI and innovative cloud technologies. If you want to learn more about this topic, download Netfira’s new free e-book “Smart purchasing, smart buyers“.
Moreover, to get an overview of the steps you can take to automate your operational procurement, Netfira’s roadmap can help you.
In order to determine which system support you need, you then need to analyse your purchasing processes. The analysis should aim to determine how standardised, measurable and IT-supported your processes already are. For each process, determine the target maturity level it should reach.
2. Formulate your requirements
In the next step, you need to prioritise your improvement goals. Determine in detail which functions you need at which point in time and how they should be designed to meet your requirements. There are three possible methods for doing this: listing the requirements, developing a specification sheet, or creating use cases.
3. Coordinated search of providers
For the evaluation of offers, you should define an evaluation system together with IT and the relevant departments. This enables a selection decision that is supported by everyone. It should include questions about data protection and data security, project management methods, usability, implementation experience and your change management needs.
In order to narrow down the search for a provider, it is important to specify your own ideas and requirements and to determine in advance which points the solution provider must cover in order to fulfill your optimisation efforts. Netfira’s checklist for procurement guides you in five steps through the planning of your digitisation project, from the definition of goals and wishes, to the scope of services offered by the service provider and to the features of the software solution.
You should also consider the following criteria when selecting eligible service providers:
Industry recognition often equates to expertise. Choose a software provider that has repeatedly proven in the past that it can support purchasing departments in their automation efforts in an uncomplicated, speedy and reliable manner. What has been customers’ experience with the digital tool for purchasing?
Flexibility of the provider and the software solution
Procurement is different in every industry and every company. Each procurement department has specific requirements, challenges and needs. A flexible solution, easy implementation and high user comfort are preferable to rigid systems. Your vendor should speak your language and have solutions that translate into tangible ROI for your organisation. A customer satisfaction survey can also be useful in evaluating these conditions.
Future potential of the solution
It is advisable to not just look at what solution you need right now. Consider with foresight what future enhancements you might need. The software solution you use should grow with your department. For this reason, modular solutions that can be introduced and expanded step by step are particularly recommended.
Do you want to know which criteria the Netfira solution meets? Find out how the platform solution allows you to automate operational procurement.