Employees Go Mobile with Requisition and Procurement Software in 2016

This year, thousands of on-the-go customers of tech-savvy Panera are quickly buying lunch from their phone – simple, easy and fast.

What if you could use your mobile device not only to buy lunch but also to shop for software, buy hardware components, replenish office supplies, order repairs, request price quotes, finalize a contract or approve pending company requests?

Employees tell us that they want self-service tools that will eliminate paper and simplify corporate procurement. Employers want measurable savings from preferred vendors and the ability to predict cash flow and secure company data.

Entering a purchase request for the office should be as simple as ordering lunch from Panera.  In a few minutes, you should be able to identify your preferred vendor, shop online on the supplier’s site and submit a purchase requisition for approval – from any device, anywhere. Upon approval, you should only have to click once to send an electronic purchase order to your supplier.

Organizations should look for purchase requisition solutions that simplify the employee buying experience by allowing employees to complete all corporate procurement steps from any device. And it’s important to consider the difference between a native mobile application and a mobile application with responsive design, where corporate data resides on a secure Cloud server instead of being saved on an employee’s personal device.

Employees in operations or employees who buy advertising or shop for parts require the flexibility when on the go to use a mobile-ready, collaborative shopping solution.  They should be able to begin a requisition on their phone, research and request price quotes from their laptop, and review and approve the selected vendor from a tablet at home.

While the market is flooded with a rising number of expense management solutions that make it easy to use a mobile native app, a streamlined procurement and travel and expense reporting solution with a responsive interface will allow employees to use any device to enter an expense report or complete a purchase with multiple approval steps. From any device, your management team can collaborate, approve and gain visibility during the complete purchase-to-pay process.

To support a new generation of procurement officers and employees hungry for mobile purchasing solutions, we found some informative white papers and articles that reaffirm this growing trend:

  • More employees are accessing the web from their phones and tablets for their daily work.  Between 2014 and 2016, worldwide mobile web activity increased by 11 percent; 30.64 percent of all web activity was through mobile devices in 2014 vs. 41.04% in 2016 (http://www.sitepoint.com/browser-trends-september-2014-chrome-top-mobile-browser/  and http://www.sitepoint.com/browser-trends-february-2016-mobile-market-decline/). 
  • Procurement officers, especially millennial employees, are increasingly using their phone or tablet to source products; according to a survey, 55% of millennial procurement team members use their phones for procurement research  (https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-state-b2b-procurement-study-uncovering-shifting-landscape.aspx)
  • As more employees take advantage of their phones to research items to buy, they’ll increasingly want to use their mobile devices for other procurement-related tasks.  As Chief Research Officer at Ardent Partners, Andrew Bartolini, points out in “Procure-to-Pay is Going Mobile” (on the CPO Rising website), purchase-to-pay applications that allow employees to manage requisitions and contracts from their phones will help employees to be more productive from anywhere.  In addition, early adopters have the opportunity to generate savings from business process improvements that will propel them ahead of their competitors (http://cporising.com/2015/09/11/procure-to-pay-is-going-mobile/). 
  • Organizations that are ready to take a leap into the future by moving to mobile procurement should keep in mind the option to select an application that is built with the newest responsive web design tools – HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3 – to allow the application to adapt to different screen sizes (phone, tablet or laptop) and orientations.  Expert blogger Thomas Kase’s article “Mobile Apps: A Passing Fad? Or a Procurement Solution Must-Have?” concludes that responsive design is optimal for employees to have a seamless experience across devices. 

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