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How to Gauge Vendor Readiness for eProcurement Integration

Are your suppliers ready for eProcurement integration? We explore technology readiness and factors that impact eProcurement integration readiness.

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EProcurement integration is the first step towards B2B procurement automation with features such as PunchOut catalogs, B2B order automation, and electronic invoicing. Integration enables a buyer’s eProcurement platform to exchange data with the seller’s ecommerce store and vice versa. The PunchOut2Go Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) makes integration easy, but are your vendors ready for eProcurement integration?

B2B buyers are typically eager to integrate as many suppliers as possible because eProcurement is a central component of their procurement digitization strategy. Integration supports automation, and automation improves the procurement experience, reduces costs, and helps buyers to manage spending more effectively.

However, prioritizing which vendors to integrate can be challenging. It makes sense to integrate larger vendors first, but size isn’t the only issue to consider. A vendor readiness assessment can help eProcurement users find the “low hanging fruit” suppliers who are most amenable to integration and for whom integration is likely to proceed smoothly. 

Let’s look at some factors that impact vendor readiness and some key indicators that a vendor might be a prime target for integration. 

Technology Readiness Levels and Supplier Enablement

One approach to assessing vendor readiness levels was popularized by Brian Sauser in his exploration of system readiness levels, which can be subdivided into technology readiness levels and integration readiness levels.  In a nutshell, a business should ask if a vendor has the necessary technology for integration and whether that technology is implemented in such a way as to support eProcurement integration. 

But technology isn’t the only factor to consider. An organization may have a sufficient technology readiness level but lack the organizational capability to execute the integration. Additionally, they may not understand what eProcurement integration involves or why their buyers ask for features such as PunchOut catalogs rather than older technologies such as static catalogs. Furthermore, some suppliers may simply prefer not to support self-serve options such as eCommerce or eProcurement.

We explored some arguments B2B buyers can use to generate buy-in from sellers in How Integration and Automation Create Sticky B2B Buyers

To clarify integration readiness levels, let’s look at some of the key questions you should be asking suppliers.

  • Is your digital sales technology compatible with our eProcurement system, or are you ready to partner with a third party like ​​PunchOut2Go who can make it compatible?

  • Does your business have active eProcurement integrations with other buyers, and how are they implemented?

  • Do you have integration expertise and organizational bandwidth to support an integration project?

  • Do you understand why we are interested in eProcurement integration?

  • Are you aware of how eProcurement integration benefits B2B sellers as well as buyers?

Assessing eProcurement Integration Readiness

We’ve looked at some of the theory behind assessing eProcurement integration readiness, but what does that mean in practical terms?

B2B Ecommerce

Ecommerce plays a key role in eProcurement integration readiness. Modern procurement automation technologies such as PunchOut catalogs and purchase order automation depend on ecommerce, and ecommerce is essential to providing the flexible, personalized, user-friendly self-serve experience modern eProcurement users expect.

A B2B supplier without ecommerce capabilities is not ready for eProcurement integration.

Integration and Automation Awareness

As we discussed in 4 Reasons Your Suppliers Don’t Love eProcurement Integration, suppliers may have little experience with eProcurement or the potential benefits of eProcurement integration. They have traditional rep-based sales channels and perhaps an ecommerce store, but eProcurement integration is not on their radar. They’d rather buyers continue to use tried-and-tested sales channels rather than unproven new technologies. 

This is not a technology problem. It’s a people problem, and it can only be solved through a supplier enablement strategy that includes education and support to align suppliers with buyer eProcurement integration objectives.  

Organizing for Integration

Organizational factors can also limit vendor readiness. As SAP Ariba points out, “supplier enablement is more than just connecting suppliers electronically to your back-office systems.” It’s worth considering whether eProcurement integration has executive buy-in. Does the supplier dedicate staff and other resources to integration projects? Are internal and external communications managed in a way that promotes successful integration projects? 

How PunchOut2Go Helps

PunchOut2Go can help your vendors to overcome barriers to eProcurement integration readiness. PunchOut2Go’s technology and expertise enable suppliers to support B2B automation features that include PunchOut catalogs, purchase order automation, and electronic invoicing. 

  • The PunchOut2Go Integration Platform as a Service facilitates integration between any eProcurement or ERP system and any ecommerce software.  

  • Our integration team supports buyers and suppliers throughout the integration process. 

To learn more about how PunchOut2Go can help you integrate more suppliers with Coupa, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, or any other eProcurement system, complete the form below, and an integration professional will contact you soon.

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