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Procurement Analytics Software Vendors – How to Choose the Right One?

Procurement Analytics Software Vendors – How to Choose the Right One?

‍Procurement analytics software is essential for businesses to manage their procurement process effectively. With the increasing demand for process automation, companies are looking for modern procurement software solutions to streamline their processes and spend control. However, finding the right procurement analytics software vendor can be overwhelming, given the plethora of options available in the market.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of choosing the right procurement analytics software vendor for your business. We will cover the essential factors that you must consider before deciding, including mobile accessibility, ease of use, integrations with ERP/accounting systems, fast onboarding and implementation, customer support, support for the entire procure-to-pay cycle, fast customized approval workflows, real-time budget tracking, spend insights and reporting, digital audit trails, vendor management capabilities, and operational efficiencies.

Conduct a Needs Analysis

Before you look for procurement analytics software vendors, it’s important to conduct a needs analysis. This will help you identify the gaps and risks in your current procurement process and differentiate software “needs” from “wants.”

You should start by compiling a pros and cons list to better understand current challenges, where weaknesses exist, what is currently working, and your goals for improvement going forward. This should include an analysis of the categories of operational spending your company incurs, such as travel, office supplies, equipment, and services.

It’s important to understand which systems and processes can be improved by software and which ones demand changes to the broader policies, people, and procedures that are in place. This will help you identify the key features you need in a procurement analytics software vendor.

Outline Your Deployment Model and Goals

Once you have identified your key features, the next step is to outline your deployment model and goals. You need to decide whether a cloud or on-premise solution will suit your organization better.

In an on-premise environment, your data is retained and managed by your IT infrastructure. The costs of managing and maintaining a solution can run exponentially higher than cloud solutions, due to server hardware, expensive software licenses, power consumption, and the need for a skilled IT team.

Hosted cloud software removes the burden on your IT team by eliminating the need to maintain and update systems, freeing up time, money, and resources to fulfil core business strategies. If you have a remote team, a hybrid operating model, or dispersed office locations, some cloud solutions offer mobility, flexibility, and collaboration tools to seamlessly connect your team, processes, and policies.

Your company’s unique requirements will determine what deployment model best suits your needs. Once you’re clear on the right deployment route to take, you’ll need to narrow down your key objectives, which will shed light on what features you’ll need to source during your software review process.

Look for Procurement Analytics Software Vendors with Expertise in Your Industry

When researching different solutions, it’s wise to search for software providers with extensive experience in your industry. Solutions with a cross-industry footprint will offer feature-rich solutions that cater to a diverse set of requirements.

If a solution provider has a proven track record within a particular industry, it’s an indicator that the system successfully solves challenges experienced by that sector. By deploying such a solution, it can have a meaningful impact and drive measurable results by solving industry-specific challenges via tried and tested features and functionality.

Review Customer Feedback

While you may learn a lot from a procurement analytics software provider’s website or social media presence, you need to see what verified end users are saying about their experience with the product. Reputable software marketplaces and review platforms will highlight solutions by category, with company information, feature lists, pricing information, and, most importantly, validated customer reviews.

The reviews will usually outline the pros and cons of the software solution while also listing information about the customer who left their feedback, like their role and industry, which provides further insights for consideration. This will narrow down the list of solutions best suited to your business requirements.

Build a Solid Business Case

Now that you have identified the need for a procurement analytics software solution, outlined a deployment process, defined a must-have feature list, and short-listed a set of potential solutions, you can create a compelling business case to gain buy-in and approval from key stakeholders.

Transforming a critical business function like procurement affects people, processes, and operations. It’s essential to present the business case clearly and effectively to ensure that all parties understand the impacts of implementing a procurement analytics software solution and the benefits and value it will drive for the company.

Your business case should explain how a successful software solution can not only save you money but will also enable your company to take advantage of new services, partnerships, and integrations that further optimize business processes.

Request Software Demos

Attending software demonstrations is a decisive step to success, as you can verify that proposed procurement tools perform as promised. During pre-demo discovery, be sure to share detailed requirements, problem areas, and unique challenges; this allows the product specialist to prepare a meaningful demo that will give you insight into whether the software will indeed solve your challenges, or not.

The ultimate goal of the demo is to provide you with the chance to understand and test the procurement analytics software solution against your unique business challenges and to better understand the features offered against what you require. Be aware of overzealous sales consultants who promise to “build whatever you need” Be sure to ask for reference customers that can attest to that level of customization.

Make Your Choice

Once each of the steps above is completed, you can move on to selecting the right procurement analytics software vendor. Ultimately, it all boils down to choosing one comprehensive solution that best supports and enhances your company’s procurement process and organizational objectives.

Decision makers should now have greater certainty about the best software to select for the company’s needs.

Key Features to Look for in a Procurement Analytics Software Vendor! 

Mobile Accessibility

Mobile accessibility is essential for remote procurement. Everyone in your company will save a lot of time if your procurement software comes with a mobile app that lets you:

  • Request, approve, and receive purchases on the fly
  • Use push notifications to speed up the approval process
  • Snap and save images of receipts and packing slips using a mobile device
  • View budgets and set approval thresholds to keep departments within their spending limits

Ease of Use

Ease of use is critical in ensuring successful software implementation. Before you invest in a procurement solution, check how easy it is to use for every end-user in your company.

Sign up for a free trial and do a walkthrough of your company’s procurement process. Do all the steps make sense to you right off the bat? Are the software prompts and buttons written in plain language that anyone could easily understand? How user-friendly is the mobile-friendly app?

Integrations with ERP/Accounting Systems

A good procurement platform will enhance your existing financial stack and play well with any other software you’re already using. So, before you invest, ask the following questions:

  • Does it integrate with my core accounting/ERP system, such as NetSuite or QuickBooks Online?
  • Do my accounting/ERP platforms have a vendor of choice for procurement software?
  • Does it offer an AP module or an AP integration with my accounting system?
  • How do I use this procurement platform in conjunction with the other fintech tools we’re currently using?
  • Does it integrate with any other systems that we already use? (e.g., Slack)

Fast Onboarding and Implementation

You don’t want any downtime while you’re onboarding to a new procurement platform, so look for software that you can switch to quickly and start using immediately.

Tell-tale signs that a procurement system is easy to set up include:

  • Quick data onboarding process (this should only take a matter of days)
  • Clear onboarding materials and user onboarding process (ask to see examples of onboarding and training support)
  • Quick training time (hours or days, not weeks or months)
  • Testimonials and reviews from current customers and case studies that indicate ease of use and effortless onboarding
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