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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

The Imperfect World of Indirect Purchasing

By Ana Galindo, Product Marketing Manager, SCM Cloud, Oracle

Imagine a perfect purchasing world. In this world, employees are able to purchase the items and supplies they need in order to get their jobs done at the best-negotiated prices. Purchase orders would be automatically created and the finance team would be able to easily match an order with an invoice.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. What happens instead is that employees will purchase items through suppliers that are not even on contract—meaning businesses pay more for products that may already have lower negotiated prices, increasing costs to the business and impacting the bottom line.

Ardent Partners, a research and advisory firm, attests to that. According to their recent 2018 CPO Rising Survey, only 59% of spend is on contract. It’s becoming increasingly hard for companies to ensure that employees are staying compliant and purchasing from approved suppliers within policy.

In my previous roles, I know I would be guilty as charged. There were several times I would go “rogue” and place orders with outside vendors—not because I wanted to, but because the spend management tools provided to employees were always extremely complicated to use. When it comes down to it, spend management isn’t just about reducing company costs, but also ensuring a user-friendly internal customer experience as well.

Quickly Adapting to Change

When I arrived at Oracle, I was told I was required to use our self-service procurement cloud to order my monitors and standing desk. Just the thought of using another spend management application filled me with complete frustration. In the past I’ve had painful experiences with various spend management software (won’t name any names). I always had a hard time navigating through the software, I could never find the products that I needed, and of course the interface wasn’t intuitive. You can’t blame me for expecting the same complexities with this new application.

However, I was pleasantly surprised when I first used Oracle Self Service Procurement Cloud, as it takes the employee shopping experience to another level. The fact is, the more intuitive and easy it is for employees to follow the rules, the more likely it is that they will.

The first thing I noticed was the easy, user-friendly, interface. When looking at the main page, there is a “Top Categories” section, as well as a drop-down category menu that allows users to choose exactly the products they’re looking for. The software also has powerful search capabilities that allowed me to quickly locate the right products that I needed within seconds. If I was stuck between which items to order, I could compare and contrast products from different vendors. Also, I was able to “punchout” to the supplier’s e-commerce website, add items to my shopping cart, and then complete the transaction in Oracle Procurement Cloud.

Advanced Features Enhance Your Procurement

Once I was done looking for what I needed, with the click of a button I added the products to my shopping cart and seamlessly checked out. With the application’s advanced capabilities, I was able to choose a one-time delivery to a different office location. After submitting my order, my requisition was sent to my manager for approval. Requisitions within Self Service Procurement Cloud are always routed through workflows for approval before they are processed (these workflows are completely configurable to your organization’s policies). Within minutes after placing my order, I received an email stating that my requisition had been “approved.”

What was most surprising was how quickly my manager was able to approve my requisition. Additionally, since the application runs on mobile devices, I was able to keep track of my requisitions’ status from the palm of my hand.

Spend Management Made Easy

Within a matter of days, I received several packages at my cubicle and the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Well…that was quick!” At my previous employer, it would take several weeks before I received my order, making it much more convenient for me to order from a huge online retailer (you know the one) and have it delivered the next day.

Oracle Self Service Procurement Cloud solution put a positive buying experience well within my reach. Most importantly it provided a compliant, streamlined, frictionless buying experience.

Want a closer look? Take a quick tour of Oracle Procurement Cloud

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