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How to Choose the Best Procurement Software

Procurement software helps businesses and other organizations streamline their purchasing processes and stay on top of their spending. 


Choosing the right procurement software can lead to huge savings in both time and money while choosing the wrong one can be a big drain on resources.  With so many options to choose from, you may wonder how to narrow them down so that you can choose the right one.


Here are six of the most important things to consider when you are looking at different options:


  • Features

  • Ease of Use

  • Ease of Setup

  • Ease of Admin

  • Customer Support

  • Price


Features


Before getting too far into your search, identify the features that you want included in the procurement software that you choose. 


Common features found in procurement software:

Access Controls/Permissions

Accounts Payable Management

Alerts/Notifications

API Access

Approval Process Control

Audit Trail

Budgeting Tracking

Collaboration Tools

Contract Management

Customizable Templates

Dashboards

Data Import/Export

Document Storage

Expense Tracking

Fixed Asset Management

Inventory Management

Item Catalog Management

Mobile Accessibility

Multi-Currency

Multi-Location

Payment Management

Purchase Order Management

Purchase Requisition Management

 

Quotes/Estimates Management

Receiving Management

Reports

Returns Management

Search/Filter

Secure Storage

Supplier Management

System Accessibility

Third Party Integrations

Three-way Match

Workflow Management

 

Once you have a list of features you want, put them in two buckets: 1) must-have, and 2) nice-to-have.  Use the list of must-have features to compare against features included in different procurement software products to filter out any that do not include them.  Use the list of nice-to-have features to help rank those procurement software products that include all of the must-have features.


Ease of Use


The procurement software you choose must be easy to use.  If it is not, then it might take longer than it took before to complete procurement activities and it will be harder to get people to use it.  To determine how easy it is to use, be sure to see a demo of the procurement software in action and try it out on your own through a free trial. 


Here are some suggestions on what you might want to see during a demo or try out with a free trial:


  • Add a new vendor

  • Add a new item

  • Create a purchase requisition

  • Convert a purchase requisition into a purchase order

  • Create a purchase order

  • Receive items on a purchase order

  • Record and match a bill to a purchase order and order receipt

  • Run reports

If integrations with vendors and/or other software is important to you then be sure to see how information flows between systems as you complete the steps above.


You can also see what customers are saying about how easy it is to use by reading online reviews.


Ease of Setup


If the procurement software you choose is difficult to set up, then it will probably take longer before you can start using it.  While you are evaluating different products, ask vendors how long it usually takes to set up and what factors will impact time to complete. 


During a demo or while you are exploring with a free trial, we recommend checking out what it takes to complete the following:


  • Add accounting codes (e.g. GL account codes, cost center tracking codes, project tracking codes)

  • Create user roles

  • Create approval limits and workflows

  • Add budgets

  • Add users

In addition, we recommend reading online reviews to see what customers say about their experience with setting up the software.


Ease of Administration


After you complete setup of the procurement software and roll it out to users, there will be ongoing administrative responsibilities to keep it running smoothly.   Make sure you understand what it will take to perform tasks like modifying user access, making changes to approval limits and workflows, and adjusting other settings.


Customer Support


Find out what kind of customer support is available for each procurement software product you evaluate.  To learn about the customer support different vendors offer, ask questions like:


  • Will you be assigned a dedicated customer support representative?

  • How will you be able to get in touch with customer support (phone, email, chat…etc.)?

  • What are the hours for customer support?

  • Is there an online knowledge base or help center and if so, how good is it?

The quality of customer support you receive can have a big impact on how much you are able to benefit from using procurement software. 


Price


The cost of the software may include:


  • Implementation service fees

  • License fees

  • Customer support fees

  • Discounts

For each product you research, find out what you will be charged for, how it will be calculated and how it might change over time.  Also, see if there are any discounts you might be eligible for like a discount for non-profit organizations or a discount for committing to a longer contract period. 


Other Considerations


In addition to the factors already mentioned, there may be other things you may want to consider when deciding which procurement software will be best for you. 

For example:


  • Where is the vendor located?

  • How long has the vendor been in business?

  • What types of businesses and other organizations use the software?

The better you understand the vendor and product the more likely you will make the right choice.


Research Resources


Trying to gather information about a long list of different procurement software products so you can evaluate and decide which is best can seem daunting.  Thankfully there are resources that can make your life easier. 


Websites like Capterra and G2 provide information on software features and give you tools to filter and compare products.  They also provide verified customer reviews which give insights into how easy it is to set up and use the software as well as feedback on customer support.


Your professional network can also be a great resource for learning more about different products.  Reach out to people you trust to see if they have experience with using procurement software and get their opinion.    


Ready to get Started?


If you are ready to start looking for the right procurement software for your business or organization, we would be glad to help.  Book a free demo to learn more about Spendwise and see how it stacks up against other products on the market.

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