Purchasing Insight just ran an awesome article by Ian Burdon who talked about the e-wheels on my wagon. Attempting to carefully explain why the e-Procurement debate is at least ten years behind the curve (and that if you’re not doing proper e-Procurement by now, you probably just crawled out of a cave somewhere … or at least that’s the doctor‘s interpretation), he makes a great point that has been often missed in the internet age that must be repeated:
|If you take a text which is riddled with “e” this and “e” that, the first thing to do is to strip out all of the “e”s. If it then looks like nonsense, it will not be improved by putting the “e”s back. More than a decade after the dot.com boom one hopes people would be less credulous but, alas, marketing budgets are long and memories are short.
To make a long story short, good e-Procurement is good Procurement, whether you’re using paper and pen, telephone, fax, the Internet, or HyperNet (in the year 3000). As the author astutely notes, e-Procurement is more than e-Sourcing, P2P, and e-Invoicing, and the end goal goes well beyond savings. Proper e-Procurement is about more than merely buying things over the World Wide Web. Proper e-Procurement supports a proper Procurement strategy, which encompasses everything from corporate planning and market analysis to understanding and working with the whole supply chain in an effort to deliver the corporate strategy. That goes well beyond putting a pencil in your shopping cart by way of a punch out. And it certainly goes well beyond endless debates about structured documents which entirely miss the scale and nature of the transformational opportunities available.
So don’t get sucked in by the e-Hype. Look for solutions that deliver real Procurement value, and you will not be among those acting like they just crawled out of the e-stuary. And if you need a good guide on how to start, after checking out SI’s recent post on a good lesson in e-Procurement System Selection (courtesy of Discount Tires) and the X-emplification (Day 5) and X-asperation (Day 6) posts, as well as the SI e-Procurement 3.0 Illumination (here), don’t forget about the Enterprise Software Buying Guide as well as SI’s recent 2-parter on How Much That Enterprise Supply Management Solution Really Costs (Part I and Part II) and you’ll be well on your way.