E-procurement systems 'only delivering half of promised benefits'

Procurement heads are only getting half the benefits promised by e-procurement systems, which “don’t make life simpler” for people using them, according to research.

In a survey of more than 200 senior UK procurement professionals, respondents said that on average they were using only 52% of benefits offered by their software. However, they expected this to rise to 75% while they were still using their current systems.

This benefits gap was most marked in gains relating to personal productivity, with respondents hoping to get 37% more from their current software in this category. 

Wax Digital, the company that commissioned the survey, said this suggested that e-procurement systems “may not be very intuitive to use”, and “don’t make life simpler... for people using them”.

Other significant benefits gaps include: lack of more accurate processes, felt by 32%; lack of process efficiencies (29%); little customer satisfaction impact (28%); limited cost savings (28%); low impact of spend reduction (26%); and lack of improved spend visibility (26%).

However, 42% were optimistic that they would get everything they possibly could out of their systems. Only 1% of respondents felt they couldn’t achieve any more benefits.

Daniel Ball, director at Wax Digital, said the findings showed “a real appetite” to improve procurement performance through technology, and that there were “many strong solutions on the market to help them do this”. 

But, he added, companies may only get “some of the potential benefits” if they chose the wrong technology, or didn’t carefully plan how they used it.

“Procurement professionals clearly know what stands in the way of them extracting the most from e-procurement. Now they need to focus on how to successfully minimise these barriers and increase their project outcomes,” he said.

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