Whether you are already using an eMarketplace or are considering implementing one, our ‘5 Steps to Measure the Effectiveness of your eMarketplace’ can help you to understand what the key considerations are, in order to review or select the right option for you.
Does the eMarketplace make the buying process easier for all involved?
One of the key reasons for introducing an eMarketplace into an organisation, will be to make the buying process easier for everyone involved – whether you are the end-user who needs to buy items, the procurement manager who needs to encourage compliance or the finance manager who needs to control spend. If a solution is not easy to use, then users will be discouraged and will want to go back to the old ways of doing things.
Can you find the items you are looking for through the ‘Search’ function?
It is also key that items are actually able to be found when searching for them – an eMarketplace which uses a powerful Search capability will contain lots of clever algorithms to help your users find the items they are looking for, quickly and easily.
Can you compare products easily enough?
A feature of an eMarketplace is that it does what it says – it is a controlled but competitive marketplace for different Suppliers to try and sell their products to your end users. A prerequisite for this is having the ability to be able to compare products on a like for like basis so that the end-user can make the best informed decision when purchasing an item. If your eMarketplace, does not provide you with this functionality, then I would possibly question why you have an eMarketplace in the first place.
Does your eMarketplace connect to other systems within your organisation?
Operating an eMarketplace in isolation, without any connection to existing systems, will limit the amount of benefits you are able to realise. Most eMarketplaces should not be used as a stand-alone solution and should have the ability to integrate to other solutions, for example your ERP system.
Are you able to check and settle invoices on eMarketplace purchases easily enough?
Once the items have been purchased, you need to have a supporting solution which can handle the invoice process, without having to create any additional work for you. A supporting eInvoicing solution, which is able to integrate with your eMarketplace, will save you time when receiving, matching and settling invoices.
Does your eMarketplace save you time, removing the need to double check information?
Remember one of the initial reasons you considered implementing an eMarketplace, was to save you time, which had been spent on manually checking information several times over to ensure it was correct. Having an integrated eMarketplace can help to automate processes for you and reduce any manual errors which can occur through a manual checking process.
3. Supplier Match
Are your Suppliers part of the eMarketplace?
Deciding to use an eMarketplace is all well and good, but if the Suppliers you work with are not on the eMarketplace, then this will defeat the object or you will have to maintain “buyer managed catalogues” putting the onus back on you to maintain the data. This can lead to very little take-up of the eMarketplace as end-users will logon, with the expectation that they will be able to order the items they need from their Suppliers, only to find them not available so will go back to old ways of ordering items.
Does your eMarketplace provider have a solution to bring on new Suppliers?
An eMarketplace should continue to evolve and should not stand still, as new Suppliers, products and functionality will need to be added to ensure the solution can continue to meet your needs. If your current solution does not provide a streamlined on-boarding process for Suppliers, then your eMarketplace will soon become outdated and end-users will want to order off catalogue.
Once uploaded, is the Supplier’s product information continually refreshed?
Uploading information is all well and good, but if the information on which your end-user are making purchasing decisions, is not kept up to date, then your eMarketplace is in danger of becoming an ‘Information Graveyard.’ Supplier’s catalogues need to be continually managed and refreshed, whether this is by the Supplier themselves or the provider of your eMarketplace. Is this easy for your suppliers to do? Do they get the support from the Marketplace if they need it?
4. Analysis and Reporting Tools
Are you able to adequately analyse your current spend performance?
Your eMarketplace might be being used across the organisation, but if you are not able to extract the information, make sense of it and then make further decisions to improve spend, then you won’t be able to move any further forward in achieving your goals. Having the ability to access up-to-date information instantly, gives you more opportunities to optimise spend.
Are you able to make use of external sources to further analyse data?
Having the ability to extract your data and analyse this, is useful, but having the ability to bring multiple data sources together, as well as employing Artificial Intelligence – can add real value to your data. This will allow you to analyse spend, not in isolation, but taking into account key patterns, which can make strategic decisions that make a difference.
Dealing with data can be overwhelming; do you have the support to help you?
It can feel overwhelming when looking at all your data, and you may not know where to start. Working with an experienced team who have the learning and experience in analysing data, can help to support you so you can make the right decisions.
5. Expert Partnership
Steps 1 to 4, have highlighted how you can measure if your eMarketplace is effective, or if you are going to implement the right solution for your organisation.
Step 5 is not only a culmination of all of these, in terms of highlighting if you have the support you need, but should lead you to question if you are currently working with, or will be working with the right partner for your organisation.
A few questions to consider when evaluating your partner:
- Do they continue to work with you to support and review your procurement processes?
- Do they support your organisation when you need it?
- Do they work with you to analyse spend?
- Do they help you to identify potential new Suppliers that could benefit your organisation?
- Do they work with you and help you to achieve your goals?
- Do they help you to get the best results from your system?
Only you are able to answer these questions and know if you are working with the right provider.
By Darren Lythe, Business Development Manager at Science Warehouse.
For more information, please visit our eProcurement page.