Successful e-procurement : more than great technology

In the private sector, the degree to which organisations adopt change management strategies is often driven by threats to the business or customer dissatisfaction rather than business benefits.

In the public sector, it is slightly different as the combination of Gershon's call for joined up working with the 'Efficiency Review' and the ODPM's e-gov savings targets, amongst others, have qualified the reasons and benefits of change.

E-procurement is widely recognised as a dynamic key to unlocking savings.

But with organisations undergoing 'Business Process Re-engineering' - mapping end-to-end business processes to reduce duplication of effort - in a bid to reach the zenith of 'Transformational Government' (TG), new ways of working and the management of inherent change must be sensitively developed.

Basic psychology tells us that people do not like change in any walk of life and this is especially the case in the workplace.

Without the correct management, personnel can jump to conclusions that their jobs are under threat and that the term 'efficiencies' is the same as 'cuts' rather than best practice procurement.

Within procurement circles, this is perhaps amplified by the personal relationships that a buyer builds with their preferred suppliers as part of day-to-day activity.

But it is sometimes this very 'friendship' that can breed complacency in an agreement, causing price drift - this is particularly true in the IT sector.

Perhaps reason enough why competitive government frameworks are de rigeur and the days of off-tender purchasing are numbered.

This post is part of a series of articles addressing e-procurement and written by Peter Robbins, MD, Probrand Ltd which publishes the Mercato Total Commerce and

If you want to read other articles in the series, please click on the author's link above.