If you’re looking for a corporate e-Procurement solution and you’re thinking along the lines of Ketera or Ariba, be sure to include Enporion in the mix. Even though they started as a procurement consortium and technology provider for the utility industry back in 2000 when they were founded by seven utilities, and even though they used to use SAP Markets Technology, they have come a long way from their roots and now offer a fully-featured on-demand web-based procurement solution that was developed one hundred percent in house and is tightly integrated.
Their platform supports full bid management, order management, catalog management, invoice management, settlement, contract management, project management, vendor management, and basic spend reporting on all transactions executed through the platform. They have a strong technical services division that supports dozens of standard and custom data formats (including EDI, XML, xCBL, and OCI) and are capable of handling all aspects of supplier catalog management on behalf of you and your supplier.
But perhaps the biggest reason you should look at them is for their capability on the services side. Since day one they have not only been conducting sourcing events on behalf of their clients, who collectively put over 10 B in annual spend through their platform, but have also arranged numerous group purchasing contracts worth millions upon tens of millions upon hundreds of millions of dollars. Considering that few group purchasing organizations can make the same claim-to-fame, this is no small feat! With Enporion, you can be sure you’ll get the services help you need when you need it.
Getting back to the technology, certain components are deeper than you might expect given that there are providers out there with suites that do not have the depth to back up the breadth. For example, their contract manager has some best-of-breed capabilities revolving around contract creation. In addition to the standard clause library, repository, tracking, reporting, and administration – it also supports administrator, and user, defined decision trees that can be used to automatically pull together appropriate contract templates for a commodity based upon the category hierarchy, value, strategic importance, and other relevant attributes. By working through the process before the RFQ is issued, a junior buyer can be guided on what attributes are important and focus on the right issues, terms, and conditions in the RFQ and subsequent negotiations.
The entire platform is built on an underlying many-to-many hub for transaction processing that supports multiple transaction types and is capable of appropriately routing any transaction from any buyer through the platform to any supplier as required. Thus, even though it might not be much to look at (but we already know that looks can be deceiving – take BIQ for example, any random screen on its own will not catch your eye, but ten minutes diving into its analysis capability demonstrates that it is one of the most powerful analysis engines on the market), it packs a decent punch.
Furthermore, like Ketera, they’ve also come to the realization that the future of e-Procurement is the integration of the physical and financial supply chain and they already have projects in R&D to tie the needs of the treasury into their platform. Although I don’t have much in the way of details yet, this is one upcoming development I’ll be keeping my eye on and talking to them about more in the future.