On a recent Next Level Purchasing Association webinar, an attendee asked an interesting question.
That question went something like this: “Identifying and evaluating procurement technology vendors is very time consuming. Are there any resources available to try to shortcut the initial investigation process?”
My short answer was “yes and no.”
And I had a long answer, too.
Let me explain…
There are indeed a large number of procurement technology vendors. To thoroughly investigate them all would be a process that would take an impractical amount of time.
But there are really two parts to this attendee’s question. One is are there any shortcuts to identifying procurement technology vendors. And another is are there any shortcuts to evaluating procurement technology vendors.
With regard to identifying procurement technology vendors, there are plenty of resources. Blogs such as Sourcing Innovation and Spend Matters cover the procurement technology space fairly thoroughly. And analyst firms like Aberdeen and Gartner publish research that describes, and sometimes compares, procurement technology.
Additionally, peers can be a great source for identifying procurement technology vendors. A few simple emails and/or phone calls to fellow procurement professionals you may have formerly worked with or met at networking events like procurement conferences can yield some valuable recommendations. And a post on a procurement-related LinkedIn Group can often yield dozens of responses from people in positions similar to yours.
So, are there shortcuts to identifying the procurement technology vendors that are the best potential fit for you? Absolutely!
Now, for the second part, I feel that there are absolutely no shortcuts to evaluating procurement technology vendors once you have identified a healthy subset of competitors. If there was one procurement technology vendor that was the best fit for every organization, regardless of size, industry, culture, or unique business requirements, none of the other vendors would be in business.
But there are a multitude of procurement technology vendors out there – and doing well – because each has value that they bring to the table. So, no shortcuts to evaluating them! Complete your typical supplier qualification: review financial statements, do site visits, see demos, do pilot projects, talk to customers, etc.
A procurement technology purchase is a decision you’ll have to live with for a long time. In some cases, the success and perception of the procurement department are dependent upon a successful vendor selection. Don’t shortchange your organizations by taking shortcuts. You’ll regret it.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer – Next Level Purchasing Association
Author – The Procurement Game Plan
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