30 November 2005 | Anusha Bradley
Procurement departments are "patching together" IT systems for complex projects because no single tool exists to source, evaluate and negotiate contracts.
A survey of 125 procurement heads at UK firms found a gap in the market between existing technology and what buyers require for strategic sourcing.
Oxford University business school student Nomit Kalidhar led the research and published the findings in Value-based Strategic Sourcing and IT Systems.
He told SM
: "The vast majority of respondents expressed dissatisfaction that the tools available do not meet their requirements."
Buyers said that existing tools "oversimplified" the complex process of strategic sourcing.
The study found while buyers used software from big suppliers to source products and services, evaluation and negotiation were frequently carried out manually.
Some buyers were using systems from big suppliers and evaluation tools from smaller vendors.
Kalidhar said the need for integrated systems would drive the partnering of niche vendors and suppliers of larger applications.
No such partnerships exist in the private sector and suppliers told researchers it would be
at least a year until they did. However, in the public sector, the Office of Government Commerce has negotiated just such a deal between e-sourcing provider BravoSolution and evaluation tool vendor Commerce Decisions.