Founded in 2000 in France, b-pack is a global leader in the purchase-to-pay (P2P) realm serving over 100 global customers in industries including financial services, CPG, manufacturing, business services, energy, media, pharmaceuticals, and government. Customers of b-pack include Sony Music, McDonald’s, Dannon and Buccaneer Energy. b-pack has been recognized by Gartner
as a magic quadrant Top 5 eProcurement vendor.
b-pack is built on a SaaS cloud-based on the Amazon Web Services platform (AWS). This allows access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon.com’s back-end technology platform. b-pack utilizes Amazon API’s to access their massive catalog meaning buyers have the ability to search for and retrieve relevant product information from the Amazon.com catalog with a similar look and feel to the website (but not identical).
PunchOut catalogs are easily accessible and, by default, negotiated, preferred items from the catalogs are offered first to the buyer. In this area, power users / administrators are able to restrict areas of the catalogs by different rules according to the individual buyer roles. You are able to access external catalogs with the ability to bring the purchase back into b-pack. Overall, b-pack offers a mix of internal, external, web and PunchOut catalogs.
User roles are set up as such so that depending on the approver level you are at, you will see different options. Among these options are an indicator bar letting you know how much budget you have overall, how much has been spent from your budget and how much is left. At any point you can click on this budget indicator and get a complete view as to all the individual items purchased from your budget allowing you to drill down for precision reporting. This overall history of budget reporting is very convenient especially in cases where you budget is running low allowing you to quickly identify potential problems.
When the approver receives an email from the b-pack indicating items have been ordered, one of the details included is specifically which budget is being hit for particular item(s). In addition, b-pack gives approvers real-time budget monitoring ability by purchase order.
The easy to follow dashboard in b-pack includes such items as:
- A “to do” list which tracks all items that require your approval or attention
- A list of items that have a status of “in progress”
- A list of recently visited items
- The budget indicator bar
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
b-pack allows for ERP integration with organizations such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft AX and Sage as well as other ERP vendors.
During our demo, one particular point Pierre-Marie Rallu (VP and COO of e-pack) emphasized was the ability of b-pack to work with all currencies, taxes and VAT’s in real-time. Mr. Rallu pointed out, “while other systems state they can handle all currencies, b-pack analyzes currencies on 4 levels allowing for precise currency conversions in real-time at the time of transactions”.
From the user interface side, b-pack hits a grand slam. b-pack invests a great deal of research into the user interface and from our demo this effort is immediately noticed. The steps in the order process are labeled along step-by-step arrow line which allows you to easily jump back and forth between steps in the process. The screens are very easy to read with enough white space to allow the user to easily find particular fields of interest. As usual, I can’t stress enough how important ease of navigation and easy to read screens are in the process of getting full front line user buy-in with respect to application packages.
The modules that are available with b-pack include the following:
- Asset Management
- Budget Management
- Contract Management
- Spend Analysis & Reporting
- Travel & Expense
- Vendor Management