A purchasing information system… the key factors to successful implementation
Acquiring a new PIS is generally driven by the need for more efficiency and productivity while harnessing the benefits of technological progress available on the market. The solution results in better, faster purchasing, professionalizing the purchasing team and improving resource management.
Only detailed preparation and well-managed deployment will ensure successful implementation.
Upstream project preparation
When adopting a PIS, defining or developing the key internal processes is an essential starting point. It may include simplifying them, so that they can be integrated into the tools. Failing to do so would be tantamount to inheriting standard tool processes or worse still, trying to computerize non-existent or flawed processes. The PIS scope must also be defined, taking on board many criteria ranging from the company’s culture to the purchasing strategy and factoring in the desired level of flexibility, data management methods and the interfaces with the company’s other systems. All these details are then set out in the specifications that must be exhaustive as any omission or error will jeopardise the final result.
Only then is it time to choose a publisher and integrator. The specifications are used as the communications tool with the service providers. The selection criteria must not be narrowed down to cost and lead time. A long-term vision that integrates all the running costs (configuration, integration, licenses, maintenance, support etc. and selecting the company that will offer the best fit to the organisation’s needs will be the best option.
The last preparatory stage for the PIS project takes place in house. Its aim is to set up a project team that has a perfect grasp of the challenges and is sufficiently mature and experienced to lead the project.
Ensuring optimal deployment of the PIS in house
Once the PIS has been developed and delivered, the team must set about deploying it in such a way as to ensure that the maximum number of staff members are capable of using it almost expert level. Naturally the purchasing teams are first in line. They must understand the benefits, goals and ambitions of PIS. Communication on the first achievements is needed to sell the project better to these teams, highlighting the successes and difficulties encountered. The specifiers and other business areas (Legal and General Management Department) will also be affected by the implementation of these systems, whose acceptance must be company-wide.
Communication should also be directed at middle management. Although the intermediate teams will make less use of the PIS, their involvement is crucial, and they must be aware of how the new tool will be of benefit them and to the organisation.
The project’s success must also be visible through a number of project- and project feature-specific indicators (such as deployment-related indicators – BU, individuals trained; number of projects handled, etc.). Any drifts will be picked up. Communication on success stories will be delivered by carefully building the scoreboard at the outset of the project.
The third strategy entails ensuring that the PIS is really part and parcel of the purchasers’ daily work. The teams must make the maximum possible use of it and be fully conversant with its various features. The PIS must become an essential tool be it for searching for contracts to following up tenders via suppliers’ records and order management.
Once the PIS is up and running, it is also essential to plan for maintenance tasks and provide user support for the purchasers and suppliers. These two elements are decisive for the project’s success over time.
By.O Group has developed considerable experience in purchasing information system projects, through its involvement at all stages:
- We have provided support to our clients’ teams on all project phases – from requirements definition to user adoption. Our key references are La Poste, Danone, Clarins, Crédit Agricole, Pages Jaunes, Suez, Air France and Thalès
- Our teams are fully conversant with the main solution publishers including SAP, Oracle, Bravo Solution, Synertrade, Ariba, Emptoris, Sievo, Oalia, Zycus, Determine, Ivalua and Baseware. This expertise is based on the capitalisation of know-how acquired while on assignment and on studies and publications (the White Paper on PIS).
By.O Group provides sustainable results by closely involving its clients’ teams and through its commitment to transferring its knowledge. We make a choice – that of working with our clients for each project we take on with them. This attitude guarantees that we arrive at real, long-lasting change by fostering buy-in by the teams and the sound commitments through:
- the implication of the client’s project team through all the project phases to ensure its success and expanding their knowledge, primarily in the preparation and accomplishment of reception.
- building client awareness and forestalling the pitfalls and difficulties arising from its roll-out and adoption inside the organisation
- envisioning usage and users when writing up the processes and deliverables to guarantee a truly effective solution