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Since the birth of enterprise eProcurement, ‘browse’ functionality has been the sole focus of eProcurement product managers. The lack of ‘feature focus’ on search is by design and for very good reason.
Because search is impossible if the catalog content you are attempting to search is not searchable.
On average, 90% of all catalog content in every eProcurement solution, except BuyerQuest, is enabled via a PunchOut Catalog or 3rd party connection. With the predominance of PunchOut enabled catalog content, meaningful search logic is non-existent within early eProcurement solutions.
While wearing my Santa Claus hat, I shopped on a leading eCommerce site for my little girl’s bicycle.
I searched for ‘Toddler’s bicycle.' From there, I filtered the following:
- Gender = Girl
- Age = 3 Years old
- Color = Pink
Next, I selected the perfect bike for my little princess and completed the shopping experience. The entire buying experience took place in a single user interface. As part of the buying experience, I (unknowlingly) searched across content from thousands of different suppliers. The buying experience was simple, streamlined and extremely intuitive. I searched for ‘what I wanted to buy’ not ‘what supplier I wanted to buy from.’
How does this B2C eCommerce example compare to shopping in most eProcurement applications today, where 90% of the products are unsearchable? Very different, right?
As a result, the two most popular features in typical eProcurement applications is:
- The generic non-catalog request form
- Shop 'by supplier' function where users punchout to 3rd party websites
At BuyerQuest, we approached eProcurement from a fundamentally different viewpoint. We studied how users behave in the B2C eCommerce world. We fully recognized that ‘findability’ is one of the pillars of a usable website experience. As a result, we built BuyerQuest with eCommerce principles at the core, ensuring that both search and browse functionality lived harmoniously. We focused on building the "Field of Dreams" for enterprise eProcurement.
Have you struck out with earlier eProcurement initiatives? If so, get back in that batter’s box. Reach out to my colleagues at BuyerQuest and we will show you procurement’s Field of Dreams. Batter up!
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