ERP Insights >> Magazine  >> August - 2016 issue

Bringing SaaS and Commerce Together for Procurement!

Author : Rahul Garg, CEO and Founder
Friday, September 16, 2016

Rahul Garg, CEO and Founder

Procurement has always been one of the most critical business functions due to the most complex processes this function typically follows. Procurement is critical as the financial bottom-line is defined by this function. This function is also the most complex because it deals with many external parties and vendors on a daily basis following a complex communication and business process ensuring required documentation and system compliance. No wonder, this function has been the hotbed for waves of progressive interventions to streamline and improve.
From ERP software suite to E-procurement software, all are the examples of this intervention for the last 2 decades but the core functional improvement has remained surprisingly elusive! � Primarily due to an untapped and unidentified fundamental gap in the product and services offerings available in the market so far!

Commerce - The fundamental Gap in the Traditional Solutions Offering

Though the traditional solutions � like ERP and E-Procurement suites have done a great job in improving the "Process Aspect" but \"Commerce Aspect\" has fundamentally been untouched. No significant solutions provider has attempted at solving the fundamental complexities of the \"Commerce Aspect\" � the physical flow of goods - with a holistic approach! An efficient Supply chain of physical goods along with managing the information and money flow is the complete solution offering, which a typical procurement function actually needs!

But unfortunately, none of the available procurement solutions � the ERPs or the E-procurement software suites has extended the offering to commerce platform. They haven�t developed the required infrastructure either for managing the physical goods flows in any way. They have remained limited to streamlining information and money flow only.

E-Commerce Plugging the Gap

With the growing popularity and development of E-commerce for the retail needs, the B2B procurement has also come under the radar of this ecosystem. A typical E-commerce solution is a technology-driven shopping platform integrated with the infrastructure and mechanism to manage the flow of physical goods from a seller to a buyer. This solution ecosystem needs to be little customized and tailor-made for the business procurement function focusing on bulk order pricing or price contracting, delivery of goods within the specified lead time. With the integrated payment gateway system this ecosystem can also close the loop on procurement-to-pay cycle efficiently.

CPOs and purchase officers should try out the latest B2B E-commerce platform and infrastructure providers to plug this loophole. With a wide network of qualified suppliers and state-of-the-art logistical capabilities, a leading E-commerce organization can source any business need at the best cost and deliver to the �store� at any corner of the country. The in-house team of category experts can provide solutions to any purchase manager�s sourcing needs and work as a single-window supply team to consolidate multiple vendors and eliminate the complex and cumbersome workflow of dealing with hundreds of suppliers to manage their indirect or non-strategic spend. The CPOs and the purchase managers can enjoy the best pricing and reduced need of information and communication flow to manage their day-to-day transactions.

SaaS � The Paradigm Shift from the Traditional Tech-based Applications

Software-as-a-Service, commonly known as \"SaaS\" has gained significant momentum thanks to the growing adoption of technology in improving business processes. Fast fading are those days, when large business software and applications were required to be installed in individual computing hardware and operating systems. Now a SaaS, managed through a web-based platform, built on cloud technology and accessed via internet only using a web browser (MS internet Explorer, Google Chrome, MozilaFirefox etc.) eliminates all the cumbersome process of installing software on your local system and running it through a locally set up servers which also entails a lot of time and cost for the businesses.

B2B E- Commerce Applying SaaS - The Best Way in Procurement Function

Legacy Enterprise Software suite like ERPs have so far been the best tools available to streamline the business processes but they are also proving inefficient and limited in utility for many business process areas mainly due to the fact that ERPs have been traditionally managed with the limitation of local installations. The high cost of installations, multiple license requirements for local access � all are the problems and inefficiencies arising out of this \"Infrastructural gap\". It also slows down the technology adoption in procurement function because of its prohibitively high cost and time to install and configure. Though the ERP and procurement platform vendors are making a gear shift towards this direction, the complete benefits of SaaS are far from getting fully realized.
Usually all the E-commerce platforms and their business solution suite is completely built on SaaS infrastructure breaking away the traditional ERP and Procurement Software limitations. Any member of the procurement organization can perform all the procurement activities simply from a web browser only. A typical E-Commerce platform integrated with the features of an E-procurement business software suite will be the most powerful business procurement solution ever! Back-end commerce infrastructure offered on a SaaS platform to the purchase managers and officers is the only holistic approach to solve the complexities of a typical procurement function.