By Steve Morgan on Dec 18, 2014
In many ways, a good eProcurement system has the same requirements as a mainline consumer shopping site – great usability, easy mobile access to your transactions and, most importantly, accurate searching and filtering. With this functionality, you can quickly find the items you want, compare them to other items from other suppliers, and add them to your cart for later checkout or submit the order.
PeopleSoft eProcurement has focused on these key areas: an intuitive and configurable user interface, leveraging the latest rendering technology for an optimize mobile experience, and a variety of content management options, including the ability to search through external supplier catalogs in a marketplace and return that catalog information to the PeopleSoft search pages.
The main content options for catalogs are:
Internal Catalogs – These are catalogs that are stored locally in the system and can be created internally or uploaded into the system from a supplier or third party content management system. PeopleSoft provides a streamlined Catalog Management product with online error handling specifically to handle this.
Web Catalogs – Commonly called Punchout catalogs, these are catalogs where a requestor would actually leave the eProcurement user interface and go to an external supplier website or to a marketplace to order items. Once the items have been ordered, the information would be brought back into PeopleSoft eProcurement for review, budget checking and submission for approval.
External Catalogs – This type of catalog (also known as a ‘transparent punchout’ or ‘distributed search’) allows requestors to search for products on an external supplier site or marketplace without leaving the eProcurement user interface. The search is executed in the background on the remote site, and returns a list of matching products to the eProcurement search page where they can add the item to the cart and continue the ordering process as with other catalog items.
A marketplace is a central supplier catalog hub that contains multiple supplier catalogs. It allows customers to outsource the sometimes tedious task of loading in hundreds of supplier catalogs and their ongoing changes locally and instead, access the marketplace through a punchout or transparent punchout. In order to better support the growing trend of customers using marketplaces (particularly in the Public Sector, Higher Education and Healthcare sectors), PeopleSoft eProcurement is working with several partners including Vinimaya and Prodigo to provide ‘deep integration’ to these marketplaces so that, with one search from the PeopleSoft eProcurement interface, the marketplace results will be queried and returned to the PeopleSoft search page.
There are several advantages to this approach:
· Users do not need to punch out of the PeopleSoft interface to another interface to access their supplier catalog content, giving the users a more consistent user experience.
· Most marketplaces support ‘guided buying,’ allowing for optimized sorting of the search results, for example, show items on a contract, items in stock or items from green suppliers first in the sort sequence.
· The filtering capability within PeopleSoft allows for easy filtering of the results by supplier, manufacturer, item category and more.
In addition, PeopleSoft eProcurement has several unique features that other marketplaces do not support, including:
· The ability to display both internal and external content on one tab for easy comparison, that is, users do not need to know if items are stored internally or externally, and they can compare the items and make a decision based on price etc
· The ability to source from stock items to create a transfer request rather than always creating a purchase order.
· Visibility into associate item / supplier attributes (such as Green, Sustainable, Minority Owned etc) directly on the search results and the ability to then filter the item list by these attributes.
This deep integration provides a very compelling user experience when searching for external catalog items.
PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface
PeopleSoft is providing an advanced ‘fluid’ user interface that will allow a consistent look and feel across mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) and the desktop. This interface will automatically recognize the form factor of the device accessing it, and display the transaction that is optimized for that device.
A good example of this is the new PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface Requisition functionality, which allows for entry of a requisition
on a mobile device.
When searching on a mobile device, the marketplace results (as well as internal catalogs, favorites etc) will also be displayed.
With PeopleSoft eProcurement 9.2, usability, mobility and advanced content management combine for a great user experience.