In Part I, we discussed how b-pack, who packed it in for a brave new world back in 2010, crossed the Atlantic in their quest to spread some of their French Procurement bohemian revolution to the rest of the world, bringing with them a suite of Procurement solutions that take you from the start of a traditional sourcing cycle (RFx), through a contract, to a requisition (which may be from a catalog), against a budget, to receipt (which can include asset tracking information), and an invoice, to payment, reporting, and supplier management.
Then, in Part II, we noted that b-pack has spent the last three years implementing (or significantly improving) (collaborative) contract authoring and advanced contract management (coming out in the next release this quarter), advanced requisitioning and services procurement, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) integration, project management and project support across requisitions and budgets, an enhanced collaboration portal, a GPO (Group Purchasing Organization) module, and enhancements across the board to all core and supporting modules while at the same time extending their out-of-the-box integrations with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and AP (Accounts Payable) systems, increasing usability, and taking (RAD) rapid application development to a whole new level with respect to the degree to which the platform can be customized for a new client. In addition, we did a deep dive into their requisition, budget, and project-management functionality.
Today we want to talk about their new RAD (Rapid Application Development) capability and their ability to customize an implementation for every customer off of one common platform. In the new version of their platform, each of their 30+ components have been implemented as stand-alone modules. This allows a customer to choose just the modules that make sense for their organization. In addition, each module can be custom configured to the client’s need. As discussed in yesterday’s post, the customer can choose just those requisitions that make sense for their Procurement processes in the 1Cart & Requisition Module. A customer that already has a BoB (best-of-breed) strategic sourcing module can exclude the sourcing module, a customer that has a multi-channel invoice solution can turn off the OCR module, and a customer that doesn’t have an ERP can leave the integration out.
In addition, the options that are presented for configuration in each module are then restricted to those that are related to the modules that are selected. For example, the user will not be able to configure OCR receiving rules in the invoice module if the OCR module is not part of the solution. Furthermore, the configuration of each module is workflow driven, so the user will only be presented with configuration options that make sense based upon previous selections. So, if a user selects that only user-initiated requisitions and invoice-free requisition workflows are supported, the user will not be presented with, or be able to access, configuration options for check-requisition.
Finally, the workflow-driven dashboard is extensively customizable and can be pre-configured for each user type. The user, which is only presented with the workflow elements and analytics associated with the modules the user has access to, can select what workflow elements (such as outstanding approvals, requisitions, etc.) she wants to see on the dashboard, and in what order, as well as what reports should be generated and loaded upon application log in.
Using the extensive configuration capability in their platform, b-pack is able to rapidly configure a custom-installation for each customer, that exactly mirrors their current processes, in a matter of days and deploy an appropriate instance of their platform from the start, that includes out-of-the-box integrations with ERP and AP systems and third-party punch-outs for catalog purchases. Then, all that is required to get a customer fully operational is to load any master data elements that do not exist in the ERP or AP systems and, optionally, define the requisition, project, budget, invoice, etc. templates used by the organization. In a matter of weeks, the organization is running on a fully configured, fully featured, customized e-Procurement solution that runs on one common code base that can be updated on-demand in a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) environment, giving the customer the best of both worlds (rapid deployment and extensive customization).
In our next series, we will dive deeper into some of the new capabilities of Version 4.0 of the b-pack platform that is coming out this quarter.