Procurement Software Overview
What is Procurement Software?
Procurement software centralizes and automates the process of purchasing materials and replenishing inventory. Most procurement software has expanded its scope to allow companies to manage all aspects of the procurement process on a single platform. This centralization is often referred to as “source-to-pay” or “procure-to-pay.” Most procurement software focuses on procuring hardware and material assets, rather than software or SaaS subscription management.
Procurement management software provides several key benefits. It centralizes the purchasing, invoicing, and documentation processes, which can generate immense efficiencies for larger organizations and production-focused businesses. It also gives businesses better visibility into their spend patterns and management, catching wasted spend or suspected fraudulent spending in the process.
Given the broad scope of procurement software, it entails a wide range of capabilities. All procurement software will provide businesses the ability to manage suppliers and invoicing, digitally manage the accompanying documentation, and establish some level of automated workflows to streamline procurement.
It is related to inventory management or warehouse management and might possess similar features. Some ERP platforms and accounting suites also offer various procurement features. Additionally, procurement is an essential component of supply chain management and may be available via supply chain management suites. Often is used by larger enterprises, but procurement software for SMBs exist.
Procurement Software Capabilities
Procurement software will vary in terms of the range of features each product offers. Some will be more focused on spend analytics and management, while others will emphasize supplier management and documentation. However, procurement software should usually include most or all of these feature areas:
Documentation support, including RFPs, purchase orders, etc.
Request and approval process workflows
Integration with budgeting mechanisms
Supply chain management integration, including order and inventory management
Spend/expense management and analytics
Procurement Software Comparison
There is a range of factors to evaluate when comparing different procurement software. Consider these aspects of each product:
Point solution vs. broader suite: There are a number of procurement-focused point solutions available to businesses. However, other financial products, such as ERP platforms and accounting systems, also offer procurement capabilities to varying degrees. Consider whether the business needs particularly robust or specialized procurement features, or if existing financial systems are lacking the necessary procurement functions. If so, a point solution may be the best option. Otherwise, finding broader financial suite that natively integrates procurement with other financial services may be more efficient.
Analytics and Reporting: Procurement software has developed more extensive native reporting tools around spending, inventory, and efficiency. However, not all procurement software has invested in analytics to the same degree, or around the same functions. Buyers should determine where additional visibility into their data is most needed, and gauge procurement software’s analytics in that area first.
Customization: Businesses can vary dramatically in their exact procurement environments, from the materials being sourced to the necessary approval processes to the reporting features that are most valuable. Buyers should consider both how easily each product can be customized to their initial needs, as well as how flexible and adaptable the software’s workflows, documentation, and other features are as business needs change over time.
Start a Procurement software comparison
Pricing information is not often publicly available for procurement software. Instead, it is usually available on a case-by-case basis by quote from each vendor. Some public figures and estimates can range from $25/user/month to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for a company-wide license.
Pricing usually scales up by the scope of the business, either in the volume of transactions or dollar value of the transactions), as well as the specific features offered at each pricing tier. Many procurement software products also come with an implementation fee.