Nearly every state in the U.S. has increased its spending on technology modernization, deeming it necessary for increased efficiency, cost savings and overall government impact in the future. At the same time, maverick tech spending has become a point of contention in some localities.
Technology systems and services are typically not small expenditures, and many IT projects can take years to complete. These waterfall projects often require many reworks along the way, which leads to budget overruns – a luxury that strapped states can’t afford. In fact, NASBO recently reported that “rainy day funds as a percent of general fund spending is now at 5.2 percent, compared to less than 2 percent in 2011.” It also indicated that “some states have repeatedly turned to their rainy day funds to help address shortfalls.” And, though it may seem that budget – and, more importantly, spending – cuts are the best way to offset this trend, there is a better way to manage spend and support continued government modernization.
To start, government agencies at every level need to evaluate the efficiency of their procurement function, starting with their technology utilization. Though most agencies are probably leveraging some sort of eProcurement system, many platforms are operating as islands, unable to integrate with finance and operations systems. Other agencies’ procurement technology is simply outdated, while some are still heavily reliant on ERP procurement modules that are lacking key auditing and agile capabilities. Whatever the case may be for your agency, it is critical to modernize your eProcurement technology if you want to eradicate waste and maximize the value of your other IT purchases. That is because the right eProcurement system will empower you to:
Both are mandatory to meet CIOs’ lofty goals for more centralized and agile IT projects. Today’s “procure-to-pay” technology will not only streamline the purchasing process, which is key to agile procurement, but it will quickly flag routing delays or improper allocations to improve transaction timeliness and enhance resource utilization. Once you can clearly pinpoint your process pain points, it’s easy to simplify data entry actions, expedite requisition submittal, introduce process tracking measures and electronic invoicing, and create a highly-functioning system based on industry-defined standards.
In fact, state and local government agencies with eProcurement (ePro) or hybrid ePro/ERP systems receive approximately 20 percent more responses to their solicitations, especially from Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Businesses.
It is proven that eProcurement systems aligned with modern business processes can immediately stop duplicate purchases, overspending and other avoidable procurement mistakes that have been costing agencies – and their constituents – billions of dollars in program cuts. eProcurement technology is also essential to maintaining complete transparency regarding the use of taxpayer dollars for large-scale IT initiatives.
At the same time, highly configurable eProcurement technology platforms provide the workflow foundation that government agencies need to standardize IT procurement processes and ensure compliance with all public procurement policies. They also create a more collaborative procurement environment between buyers, customers and vendors. In turn:
In other words, it will be challenging to execute government technology modernization strategies without first adapting your procurement technology solution. If you need help identifying potential business process improvements or evaluating the many eProcurement and ERP procurement options on the market, it’s best to seek the help of consultants that specialize in public sector procurement. They will be well-versed on government’s unique business challenges. And, they will be even better equipped to help you design, integrate and optimize the right procurement technology platform for your agency’s IT procurement goals and budget. That means more money can stay in your rainy day fund and more progress can be made towards completing that bright, shiny new program or IT system.
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