Cloud-Powered Procurement: Elevating Efficiency, Empowering Organizations
Organizations today operate in an environment where perpetual technological innovations are transforming how they operate – in response to changing expectations and industry standards. Next-gen technologies are replacing legacy systems and practices, eliminating their inherent inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and delays.
Traditional procurement systems are no exception to this revolution, where organizations seek to replace complex, inflexible, and investment-heavy legacy systems. Although procurement systems generally lag in the technological revolution, the inefficiencies, wasted time and effort, and lack of convenience are becoming even more evident as other operations move forward in the data economy.
So, what is the solution to overcome these limitations of the legacy procurement systems? The answer is “Cloud Procurement Systems”.
What is Cloud Procurement or Cloud-based Procurement?
But what exactly is cloud procurement (or cloud-based procurement) solution? A cloud procurement solution is a cloud-based system that can help your procurement team automate processes like strategic sourcing, supplier relationship management, cost analysis, and project tracking. These systems also offer collaboration and analytical tools to help you effectively manage risks, enhance agility, save costs, and ensure compliance across your procure-to-pay cycle. And as the popularity of enterprise cloud is increasing – 67% of organizations are using cloud-based infrastructure, and 81% have a multi-cloud strategy in place or in the works – it is logical to assume that global organizations need to be steering their procurement teams toward cloud procurement solutions.
Why is Cloud Procurement Solution Important?
Legacy systems and manual tools have become obsolete because of their limitations in handling the complexities of the modern procure-to-pay cycles. The next solution many organizations looked at was the all-in-one procurement system that promised convenience and efficiency. However, procurement professionals soon realized that these promises were a far cry from reality as these all-in-one procurement software packages were inflexible and demanded a lot of time and effort from the procurement team to run smoothly. This came at the cost of agility, visibility, and overall efficiency of the procurement processes, which is detrimental to an organization operating in a fast-paced data-driven market.
On the other hand, cloud procurement solutions allow organizations to forgo the large upfront investments and tackle the challenges of legacy systems and all-in-one procurement software head-on, one at a time. An effective cloud procurement strategy can help you ensure visibility and transparency across the procure-to-pay cycle, as each stakeholder can access and work on the same data. This also eliminates any data entry or communication errors and delays, making the procurement process more accurate while increasing supply chain efficiencies. As a result, you have actionable insights into the procure-to-pay cycle. You can save your time and resources, redirect them to other value-enhancing functions, and improve the overall agility of your procurement team.
Streamlining the Procurement Process
Streamlining your procurement process is the foundation of achieving visibility, agility, and transparency in the procure-to-pay cycle. The cloud procurement solutions allow you to automate the basic procurement functions and streamline the procurement process by:
- Simplifying the purchase experience of your procure team via intuitive interfaces, guided experience, and facilitating quick access to required goods at negotiated prices.
- Streamlining purchasing and payment by automating the process to generate purchase orders and invoices, facilitating easy revision management, reducing errors, and expediting payments.
- Enhancing organizational values by offering actionable analytical insights, identifying value-addition opportunities, and being agile with data-driven insights about your supplier base and market dynamics.
Advantages of Cloud Procurement Solution
Cloud procurement or e-procurement solutions allow you to streamline, eliminate inefficiencies, and add value to the end-to-end procure-to-pay cycle with the help of process automation, data-driven insights, and agile decision-making. Apart from these, some of the major cloud procurement advantages are: 
- Cost-Effectiveness: Cloud procurement platforms require neither hefty upfront investments nor maintenance fees. Additionally, you only need to pay for the features you use, making them a cost-effective option to automate your procure-to-pay cycle.
- End-to-End Integration: All-in-one procurement software packages are often disconnected and lack integration capabilities to work seamlessly with existing procure-to-pay tools. Cloud procurement solutions offer easy end-to-end integration with most existing tools through API integration.
- Easy Collaboration: Cloud procurement solutions allow for easy cross-functional collaboration for faster decision-making and turnaround.
- Ease-of-Use: User-friendly and intuitive interfaces make cloud procurement solutions easy to use, reducing the implementation, training, and adoption time. It also makes it easier to scale up or down the procurement solution per the agency’s needs.
- Greater Visibility: Intuitive dashboards of cloud-based procurement solutions offer you real-time 360-degree visibility of your procure-to-pay process, allowing you to identify and address any process gaps to improve efficiency.
- Automated Invoicing: Efficient three-way matching process can help you automate invoice generation, verification, and approval processes, ensuring timely payments to your vendors and suppliers.
Implementing a Cloud Procurement Solution Strategy
Once you have decided to transition to cloud procurement, the next step is to plan the change to ensure a smooth transition. Here are some tips that can help you minimize any mistakes and ensure a seamless transition from legacy procurement software to a cloud strategy:
- Determine your organizational needs to ensure your procurement strategy aligns with your goals and you can prioritize organizational needs correctly.
- Choose the right cloud service provider and cloud procurement category for maximum effectiveness. Select carefully between Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to best suit your organization’s needs.
- List the must-have service features that your procure-to-pay cycle would need to minimize your spending on the cloud procurement solution while maximizing functionality.
- Focus on data security and privacy to protect data and ensure regulatory compliance.
- Remember to be flexible in your procurement strategy to benefit from the flexibility of cloud procurement and grow.
It is now time to move away from on-premises procurement software packages and leverage cloud-based procurement solutions to improve the operational efficiency and agility of your procurement team. Without a large upfront investment or ongoing maintenance costs, organizations can easily increase value, improve supplier collaboration, and enhance the productivity of their procure-to-pay cycle. This, coupled with increased accessibility and convenience, can help ensure more efficient and digital-ready procurement processes as your organization progresses in today’s data-driven market and data economy.
Get in touch with Infosys Public Services today to understand your procurement needs and modernize and digitize your procure-to-pay cycle with Infosys eProcurement.
Chetna Popatkar, Senior Marketing Manager, Infosys Public Services
She has over 11 years of experience in product and service marketing working with top IT firms globally. At Infosys, Chetna leads brand, content, and campaign management to achieve marketing ROI and drive business growth.