Electronic procurement, or eProcurement, has been around for a while now. Yet as technology changes, the demands of businesses follow. These systems are constantly put through changes in order to be improved and to maximize their efficiency in terms of saving time, money, and resources.
Businesses heavily rely on other businesses before the product or the service reaches the customer. For every step from creation to shipment to go smoothly, a lot of boxes need to be ticked. EProcurement systems have proven to be highly efficient for doing that job.
Types of eProcurement Systems and How They Are Evolving
But eProcurement systems, just like everything else are not static and they are constantly evolving. New trends and challenges are starting to emerge and here’s what you need to know about them!
Cloud-Based eProcurement Platforms
2018 was a good year for eProcurement. The number of companies that decided to employ one such system went up and the studies predicted the rise from 2016 onward.
For small and medium businesses, cloud-based and SaaS systems proved to be a saving grace. They are quite affordable when compared to a customized in-house system that such businesses don’t even need.
In-House eProcurement Systems
Large corporations are beginning to develop and adopt their own eProcurement in-house system for their B2B needs.
This is a very logical move from company giants. After all, they are likely to have more customers themselves than a commercial eProcurement system has. It is reasonable for them to develop their own eProcurement systems that will be customized to exactly match the needs. On the other hand, corporations like these handle millions of transactions every day so a customized system will enable them not only to meet their requirements but also to achieve greater levels of security.
Big Data Is Changing the Game
Big data, as a concept has been around in the last decade, yet in the last few years its importance has become highly emphasized.
Big data has its uses in a lot of spheres and now it is becoming part of the eProcurement system.
The usefulness of big data can’t be stressed enough in B2B relations and the purchasing processes. A lot can be achieved by integrating big data into an eProcurement system, such as forecasting the demand of certain items, identifying other businesses who can become your suppliers or customers, finding the best deals and making the purchasing processes automatic based on pre-set parameters.
Big data application paired with one such automated eProcurement system and machine learning can raise the productivity levels to a new high.
Blockchain is on the Rise
Blockchain was in the spotlight throughout 2018, and it seems like this trend is not going away any time soon. The main benefit of a blockchain is security, and eProcurement systems can definitely benefit from that.
You might associate blockchain with Bitcoin, yet blockchain technology grew much bigger than the cryptocurrency and found its uses in a number of different fields.
A quick word about blockchain in case you are not familiar with it: It is a system or a ledger where all stored information is encrypted. The system stores virtually every action carried out, making all transactions traceable.
Information on the blockchain can only be accessed if you are granted access to it. In that sense, blockchain is probably the most secure means of information storage out there. To access information on the blockchain apart from the grant access, you normally need a 2FA (two-factor verification). Additionally, all information on the blockchain can be tokenized, meaning that it is owned by an individual or a company and the data can’t be accessed, altered or replicated by anyone.
That being said, the use of a blockchain in relation to eProcurement systems is more than evident. Blockchain offers the most secure way of storing information at the moment. All transactions are transparent, which is of great importance in B2B relations.
Increased Value for Money
Since businesses of all sizes are employing eProcurement systems at a rapid pace, it is only logical to ask the question of its ROI. One of the main objectives of eProcurement systems is to constantly evolve and become better and more efficient. If you look back, the technology improved significantly when in its more mature stages than compared to its infancy years.
Being able to monitor all transactions and purchasing needs from one place decreased the chances of making mistakes, cut costs, and maximized management productivity. And since eProcurement systems are efficient even now, imagine what can happen a few years down the line.
B2B relations in connection to eProcurement are very complex. Keeping up with the demand and trends might be challenging. However, all of those trends and challenges are shaping up to be beneficial for all parties involved.
Our guest author Melissa Stanley is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies so far. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is Client Service Manager of PCGT - PunchOut Catalogs.