Technology is continuing to bring waves of change into the way we do business. In the past, as individuals, we had to go outside to the stores to purchase clothes or drive to the bank to pay bills. Organizations, government and businesses had to spend a large amount of money to hire contractors to run around to get the best and cheapest materials for production purposes. And most of the time, individuals and businesses did not get the best value for money. But this has changed. With e-procurement taking over the world purchasing goods and services has never been more convenient, transparent and efficient. By connecting to the Internet, individuals can now do banking and buy products right off the web. Organizations, businesses and governments will be able to scour the globe for the best deals to ensure that they provide customers with quality products.
Despite the tremendous momentum towards e-procurement, there are many challenges that entities and individuals will face. In terms of procurement management, it is vital that each function of procurement is carefully controlled and monitored. From the processes of planning, to sourcing and tendering, to contracting up to payment and follow up, each function of e-procurement needs to be set with proper controls to prevent fraud and breach of privacy. In businesses, challenges like customer privacy and data storage are some of the key issues. If there is no proper authorization to access customer profiles and transactions, one can easily expose confidential information of the businesses clients. And disaster recovery and data restoration plans are vital in case there is a breakdown in the system or if the system goes offline.
With public procurement, the burden is on governments to make public services more effective and efficient with e-procurement. With the availability of cloud computing, governments should strive to reduce labour cost, increase productivity and ensure quick and transparent transactions when dealing with contractors. All in all, the main aim of the Government should be to increase profitability and grow the economy of the nation. Countries like Singapore, Portugal and Canada have applied e-procurement extensively into their everyday operations.
Another challenge is staff training and professional development. Many organizations do not manage to follow modern procurement trends. Due to various reasons (budget, time, personnel) these organizations will have to make slow and small steps towards harnessing up-to-date procurement tools.
Besides that, the green procurement challenge is also often brought up. While the advancement of technology is speeding up, we must not sacrifice our environment and the welfare of our loved ones at the same time. Actions have been taken to maximize energy efficiency of PCs and to prolong the life and reduce disposal of hardware. There has also been suggestions to shift data storage facilities to colder regions in the globe to save cost and energy in terms of facility cooling.
As technology continues to grow, it is vital that e-procurement continues to be carried out. By keeping up to date with the latest advancements in technology and the digital world, we ensure that our organizations, businesses or governments stay up to par against competitors.
International Public Procurement Consultant