Spend Matters July 29, 2015 post, Accenture and the Future of Procurement Technology: The Virtual Company Mall, discusses one of five focus areas for advancement in e-procurement technologies mentioned in the Accenture Report: Procurement’s Next Frontier – The Future Will Give Rise to an Organization of One. According to Accenture, the five focus areas are the Virtual category room, the Virtual supplier room, the Supplier network, the Virtual company mall, and Supply analytics, and they are required for future procurement success. These solutions will unite: “cross-functional teams, internal stakeholders, business users, other buying companies, logistics providers, unchartered suppliers, transactional suppliers, strategic suppliers and innovators.”
Accenture describes the Virtual Company Mall like this:
Owned and managed by procurement, the Company Mall will feature a cloud-based set of pre-approved private and public ‘shops’ (i.e., including content from outside the company) ?from which internal customers can select goods and services, supported with business logic that guides their purchasing based on policies, preferred suppliers and contracts. The mall will include a robust service desk that directs customers to the right shops and provides spot-buy services as required, as well as virtual agents delivering consistent and automated buying support. These services will be enabled by a mix of digital disruptors, including cognitive systems through intelligence augmentation and, where possible, intelligent automation.
What will it take to make the Virtual Company Mall a reality? You guessed it: Federated Search. Spend Matters states: “It will require a strong e-procurement capability inclusive of powerful federated search, including internal catalog, supplier hosted catalogs, traditional web storefronts and dynamic storefronts.”
The existing Explorit Everywhere! federated search capabilities could easily be applied to future procurement technologies and the Virtual Company Mall vision. Integrating federated search technologies like Explorit Everywhere! will smooth the transition from current procurement practices to the single search, Virtual Mall. Consider:
- Searching disparate sources, such as internal catalogs, supplier catalogs, and multiple storefronts in real-time for up-to-date prices, descriptions and codes.
- Aggregating results for top relevant products and services to maximize efficiency.
- Flagging duplicate products and services for easy vendor/product comparison.
- Narrowing results to small selections to save to the supply chain or to purchase products or services outright.
- Retrieving information about products or services from obscure companies or little known vendors ensuring comprehensive source research, comparison and vendor discovery.
- Integrating best practices for search and retrieval of products, as well as e-commerce technologies, thereby creating a seamless experience for the procurement team.
Federated search is Deep Web Technologies’ specialty. We are the experts in single search technology. Aggressive adopters of new procurement technologies should contact Deep Web Technologies to discuss partnership opportunities.