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How Procurement Solutions Play Into Government Transparency Strategies

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With governments under greater pressure to disclose their spending, it’s time to think bigger about procurement data.

Open government. Data. Transparency. All are “buzzwords” that have emerged in recent years as taxpayers and beneficiaries alike seek to dissect public-sector spending trends. And, now, all have been legitimized as top priorities for both city and county agencies in 2016 -- even ahead of budget and cost-control efforts.

It’s early in the new year, but we can expect that each priority will translate into a set of immediate action items, especially as presidential campaign platforms advocate for more progress on government transparency. Though the push for more detailed analysis of spending is not new, the emphasis on evolving disclosure efforts from tactical priorities to strategic best practices warrants a new approach to process.

That’s where eProcurement solutions come into the fold. Procurement is not a solely transactional function. It’s a complex and strategic activity with widespread visibility into product and service expenditures across the entirety of an organization. There are synergies between IT’s prioritization of transaction processing, benchmarking, and project management technologies and the CIO’s focus on creating a more open data environment. And procurement technologies are uniquely positioned to satisfy all the requirements.

For example, best of breed eProcurement solutions – by design – simultaneously give suppliers open access to public-sector procurement opportunities and allow for more effective data mining by cities, counties and higher education institutions throughout the procurement process. Need to be transparent about how much you’re spending -- and on what? With the right eProcurement software in place, you’ll have all the necessary tools for fast, easy collection and translation of that data. And, if utilized properly, eProcurement solutions also can complement ERP systems to simplify measurement processes and expand reporting capabilities across multiple departments without a lot of additional investment.

Many agencies already have committed to overhauling archaic procurement systems. As you’re conducting the selection process for your next procurement solution, keep in mind that the benefits of any solution shouldn’t be exclusive to a single department or even a single workflow within that department. Consider how new and existing procurement software can be integrated into other departments’ programs beyond buys and contract management. Make the move now to introduce new solutions that better align your systems with your tech priorities if necessary.

As evidenced by Government Technology’s latest Year in Data report, an emphasis on data analytics is just around the corner for cities and counties. Agencies have either made investments specifically to improve analytics, plan to implement tools in the near future, or have already started thinking about what they need to do to improve their capabilities.

That means procurement professionals have a rare opportunity to elevate their contribution to the organization beyond tactical contract management. Procurement tools -- and procurement administrators’ ability to collect and translate bigger-picture data -- can serve multiple roles within business processes if leveraged properly. The goal is to increase awareness of procurement’s capabilities with C-level leaders. Then leaders can make a proactive effort to solidify procurement’s voice in the creation of open government/data/transparency best practices.

Find out how Periscope Holdings can help you extract more value from your procurement processes and give new purpose to your software investments this year to support your organization’s CIO and IT priorities.

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