e-Procurement

In my recent article, “e-wheels on my Wagon” I explained why I think PEPPOL is a decade behind the curve. Actually, I want to go further than that and explain why PEPPOL fails to address one of its primary targets – stimulating cross-border trade, particularly by and for SMEs. e-wheels on the wrong wagon in fact.

How can a banjo frailing ballad singer in Appalachia operate a more modern business model than a government department? Imagine that I am a finance director in the UK with personal tastes which run to “roots” music. Even for relatively obscure artists in any genre and any country, I will probably be able to find a website either for them or a distributor and buy their music directly as a cd or as a download. I will pay with my credit or debit card and get my cd a week later or my download almost immediately. The artist will get paid relatively quickly and pay a merchants fee which they will have factored into their original pricing. What I will not do is raise a requisition for the cd, have it approved and then issued to the artist, create and issue a goods received note when the item is delivered and approved, match the ensuing (paper) invoice against the receipt and the order and then promise the artist that I’ll instruct my bank to pay them 30 days thereafter. Yet, when I go into work the next morning, guess which process I will insist that my organisation uses?

Today, we're delighted to welcome a post from Ian Burdon, Director of Strategic Business Development, Elcom International, Inc. It’s 2012. We’ve mapped the human genome - been to the moon and back and lost interest in it – and discovered graphene, a fourth carbon allotrope that will transform engineering. Yet when it comes to business processes and conventions, it’s hard to distinguish what we do today from the practices in renaissance Italy. Pete’s post of 14 June “World Class or Half Assed” struck several chords for me but, for now, I’d like to consider only one of them. Particularly resonant was the idea of e-procurement software being designed for the professionals in the system rather than end-users.