(3/11/2014) Mobile Apps as the Next Step for Procurement Solutions
When we look back through the evolution of procurement solutions, there are a few major milestones that stand out. In the very beginning, advanced solution providers revolutionized the function by supporting electronic purchase orders. Years later, the market went through the transition from the implementation of on-premise solutions to hosted models and then to delivery via the cloud.
The next frontier of enabling solutions likely involves leveraging the growing use of mobile devices and applications in business technology for procurement’s specific purpose. In an effort to prioritize innovation, Puridiom has recently released their own mobile app, an additional module for their current procure to pay solution that allows users to approve requests, place orders, acknowledge receipts, and enter invoices on their Apple or Android devices.
As with most other uses of smart phones and tablets, the purpose of the Puridiom Mobile App is to make it easier for internal stakeholders and managers to interface with procurement’s processes and solutions. Not only does it simplify the completion of important but routine daily tasks such as granting approvals and receiving confirmations, it increases end user adoption. The administrative tasks that other departments commonly associate with procurement do little to improve our internal reputation as a strategic value-oriented function. By allowing those tasks to be performed anywhere, anytime, we demonstrate that we are adapting to the needs and wants of the end user community.
As with any new use of technology, IT needs to play an important role in the decision to leverage mobile solutions. Much like the paradigm swing that made cloud the preferred delivery method in many companies, mobile technology is rapidly growing as part of the core technology solution portfolio. “Each procurement organization will need to assess their own IT department’s attitude towards mobile technology, leveraging it if it is supported, and continuing to explore the possibility if the timing is not yet right,” said Al Jacobs, VP and COO at Puridiom. “Other functions have already made use of the approach, such as allowing the sales force access to CRM or inventory management solutions from a handheld device while they are onsite with clients.”
Many companies learned hard lessons in the transition to the cloud. Puridiom was fortunate, in a way, that their long corporate history allowed them to learn a similar lesson with the use of the Internet to provide P2P solutions. As a result, they were ready for the move to the cloud, and made that move nine years ago. Each delivery model has both strengths and weaknesses, often leading to the next prevailing model, but the common theme is to continue innovating based on changes in current and prospective client needs.
Some users, such as a centralized procurement execution team or center of excellence, are always likely to work predominately from their desks rather than mobile devices, but their interactions with distributed buyers are increasing all the time. The easier it is for buyers to comply with existing contracts and processes, the more likely it is to happen.
There are a number of use cases that demonstrate the immediate applicability of mobile apps in procurement across industries
Poor connectivity: On-site teams at energy companies often work from site trailers that have limited or no connectivity. Mobile apps allow them to do their work when it is convenient for them – even without internet access – and sync back up once they are reconnected.
Accuracy on the go: Service personnel are often remote for a significant portion of their time. A mobile app allows them to submit on-location, repair requests or place orders for parts and materials restocking.
Approval inefficiency costs money: Waiting for orders to be approved for processing costs valuable time, and may even delay production schedules, causing costly delays in order fulfillment. Making this task more convenient reduces turnaround time and keeps operations moving.
The Puridiom Mobile App is currently available for requests, catalog searches, approvals, and receiving. It is available to current Puridiom customers for a nominal fee, but will be included in their next release, currently scheduled for Q2 2014. This release will also introduce responsive design functionality allowing their full site to display properly on mobile devices. The roadmap for the app includes mobile access to expense management and spend analytics.
If you would like to learn more about the Puridiom Mobile App, visit the Puridiom website.
Puridiom, a recognized leader in the Supply Chain, offers innovative technology solutions, industry-specific strategies, and best practice expertise to achieve best-in-class results. Solutions and services include stand-alone modules, a comprehensive procure-to-pay suite, cloud / SaaS and on-premise deployment platforms, and business process outsourcing options. Discover real savings and learn more at www.puridiom.com.