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How Suppliers Prepare For B2B eProcurement Customers

In Part 3 of this PunchOut2Go Trends report, Browsers, we bring light to how suppliers can better equip their organizations for success and get industry feedback from partners that include Coupa Software, CNET/Channel Online and Alpine Consulting.

How Suppliers Prepare For B2B eProcurement Customers

Dec 01, 2015

In Part 1 and 2 of PunchOut2Go eProcurement Trends: Browsers, we analyzed data queries to identify browsers that buying entities were using across eProcurement channels in comparison to the B2C Market, identifying a huge difference of technology uses. In summary, 80% of PunchOut users are using IE. In the B2C space, IE Usage is 22%. Of the 80% B2B IE uses, they boil down to almost 50% using IE7/IE8 or being forced by the eProcurement system into emulated browser sessions.

As a supplier, providing your eProcurement customers with a PunchOut Catalog experience they’ll love, an experience that presents your products in a manner your organization has felt best reflects your offering, achieves the results you need and your customers will find appealing. Make sure you ask your eProcurement customer about their browser requirements but don’t go through all the work to adapt the technology just for that customer, think bigger. Just about all of our customers have more than 1 integration.

cnet_logo.pngPunchOut is an amazing opportunity to open up new opportunities. Even if the customer does “say” IE10 or any other newer version, it is possible that through the PunchOut iFrame on the procurement system side, they could be forced into an older browser. If you are unsure of what an iFrame is or how it is used in the eProcurement space, here is the wiki on iFrames and also a video from Ariba where you will hear ... “The PunchOut site appears in a Frame”. Know that requirements will vary from customer to customer, and system to system or even buyers across the same systems, especially for those integrating customers on Ariba, Oracle and SAP. We rarely see iFrame issues with integrations for instance on Coupa, SciQuest and ESM to name a few.

We circled up with Timothy Laurent, The Director of Magento Delivery at Alpine Consulting that for more than a decade, Fortune 500 and mid-tier companies have trusted with their technology needs who shared “Dumbing down modern applications to be IE7 compatible has multiple negatives including increasing the duration of the project, adding complexity to the site which may induce performance degradation and naturally, the cost to built to application is going to be higher. The higher costs don't stop with the initial build of the application either, all new feature development and maintenance are also increased." PunchOut2Go CEO, Brady Behrman, adds “It’s unfortunate that suppliers have to deal with the hurdle of supporting retired browsers but that’s the nature of the beast and browser compatibility has been an issue since the inception of the web. Suppliers must pay attention to their customers infrastructure and work hard to provide the best experience to grow business with the customer and in the PunchOut Catalog space. The requirements will change from buyer to buyer and system to system.”

coupa.jpgIn speaking with Adam Alphin, Coupa’s Director of Supplier Enablement he confirmed “This is one more area where pure cloud providers like Coupa differentiate themselves from legacy procurement solutions. Our customers can access Coupa from any modern browser and punchout to supplier catalogs within that same browser session, and gain all the benefits of modern browser advancement. ERP based solutions typically force the punchout session into some antiquated version of Internet Explorer, and frankly, problems abound.”

Usage of IE is dropping about 2% year over year in the B2B eProcurement sector. Does this matter? Certainly. Browser trends are important for your business to better understand customers and to the teams designing your web or eCommerce applications. Coming from a web development and eCommerce space, our founders bring a different approach and far more to the plate. They have been on the front-line, developing for B2C, B2B and today’s core focus, PunchOut and B2B eProcurement integrations. Browser support is a top concern for any web development initiative and obviously for PunchOut because it’s a web development initiative, not solely a data transformation topic.

As a supplier, you may be asking yourself how you should handle browser requirements. We recommend that you do everything you can to support legacy browsers. More times than none, our clients have customers across many eProcurement systems. In the near future, you will find that your customers that PunchOut will, or possibly are, utilizing more modern browser technologies across different devices and you can be ready to present your products on any device, with 100% usability. Be prepared and ask the question about browser support or just send your customers to this article so they can get you the answers you need. You can capitalize from your capabilities while reducing the costs to serve within eProcurement space.

Your customers have invested heavily into spend management systems to help save money and drive efficiency. As mentioned in Part 1 of this report, One of the challenges a Buyer faces is getting their vendors integrated, and driving spend through their eProcurement system. You, as a vendor, can set your organization ahead or apart of others, to be the “Preferred Vendor”, helping your customers achieve their goals, lowering your cost to serve, huge potential to increase sales because you do business the way they need you to do business, all the while, shining like the superstar vendor you are, can be or want to be. Need help? Most likely and we are here to help in any capacity your organization may need. We really enjoy and find great value in collaborative workshops, meet with us in Charlottesville, Virginia or in the comfort of your conference room.

PunchOut2Go is known as a pioneer in the eProcurement PunchOut market, a key differentiator and well respected by providers, partners and clients around the globe. PunchOut2Go is also the only provider with a proven track record to offer the ability to integrate PunchOut functionality to any eCommerce application, through traditional web services and standards, while handling the complexity of eProcurement document protocols and communicating in modern communication methods. Behrman continues “Our knowledge coupled with solutions make it easy for vendors to grow while reducing costs utilizing PunchOut2Go’s cloud-based gateway architecture to quickly deploy PunchOut & B2B ecommerce integration points without the need for IT resource involvement. It's not surprising that PunchOut2Go boasts a 99.8% retention rate.”

The eProcurement market is growing rapidly, globally and it’s changing the game in how Buyers procure products and services from their vendors. "Over the last two years, ChannelOnline has seen increased demand for punchout connections to our resellers’ hosted e-commerce storefronts. Offering affordable pricing, quick setup times, and access to a support portal to manage connections, PunchOut2Go has made it easy for us to expand this business. Additionally, their team is customer-driven and dedicated to ensuring each connection meets user expectations." - Keith Wilson, Director of Web Services, CNET Content Solutions

PunchOut2Go is happy to assist in the requirements conversations. Feel free to contact us or lean on your PunchOut2Go representative to help get the answers you need. We have ways to combat particular cases of browser concern because the PunchOut2Go Gateway sits between the Buyer’s procurement system and the supplier’s eCommerce application; the Gateway becomes incredibly important to the supplier’s eProcurement PunchOut infrastructure, dealing with the anomalies from integration to integration.

We are proud of our stance, our flexibility, our mission and live up to “Making PunchOut & B2B Commerce Integrations Easy!” We hope that this trend report on browsers in the eProcurement sector is helpful in your initiatives and your drive for B2B eProcurement & PunchOut success. If PunchOut2Go can be of any assistance, contact us.

Category: Trends