To help companies across industries select the best eProcurement applications to streamline their online purchasing processes and cut costs, Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) today introduces eProcurement Application TechRankings, its eighth TechRankings category.
Forrester invited all major vendors in the eProcurement market to take part in the laboratory-based evaluation process, conducted jointly with Forrester’s partner, Doculabs, Inc. (www.doculabs.com). Forrester and Doculabs initiated coverage and assessed offerings from five key vendors against more than 800 criteria in this initial research release: Ariba’s Ariba Buyer 7.0, Clarus’ Clarus eProcurement 6.1, i2’s i2 RightWorks 7.05, iPlanet’s iPlanet BuyerXpert 4.1, and MRO Software’s MAXIMO Buyer 4.1.1.
For this TechRankings category, Forrester evaluated eProcurement applications — software for automating and managing companies’ indirect procurement process — through rigorous laboratory-based product testing, vendor analysis, and user research. TechRankings research is published online, providing businesses with an objective, independent assessment and powerful Web tools for customizing the product-evaluation rankings. Firms can tailor this research to focus their decision on the most important criteria and vendors for their business. Forrester will add other important vendors and products as it completes lab evaluations.
What Users Want From eProcurement Applications
Before testing eProcurement products, Forrester interviewed IT and purchasing executives at 50 Global 3,500 companies to find out what their eProcurement needs are. Based on these interviews, Forrester organized more than 800 product and vendor criteria into 10 key factors to consider for selecting an eProcurement application.
Forrester found that firms want easy-to-use applications that integrate with their ERP systems and their suppliers. Most companies choose applications that reduce transaction costs, improve contract compliance, and reduce total spending. Additionally, most firms use this software to purchase easy-to-catalog items, such as office supplies, maintenance items, and assets.
Forrester believes that eProcurement applications that offer the following capabilities are the strongest-positioned in the marketplace:
- Strong integration
- Powerful purchasing
- Flexible process configuration
- Robust catalog management
“While the eProcurement pure plays have spent the past few years building increasingly extensive and flexible software specifically for eProcurement, enterprise software veterans are using their back-end procurement expertise and installed base to extend their eProcurement presence,” said Sharyn Leaver, analyst at Forrester and principal researcher for this TechRankings category. “These vendors are making strides, but no single solution can satisfy all eProcurement situations. Pure plays that can build strong ERP integration ties and enterprise veterans that can help firms automate the complete procurement process from sourcing to fulfillment will lead the pack.”
For this TechRankings category, Forrester focused on buy-side eProcurement applications from sourcing to requisitioning, ordering, and fulfillment. Products evaluated by Forrester were required to meet this definition as well as offer locally hosted software in a self-service environment accessible by all employees. Forrester did not evaluate products that support eMarketplaces or products that automate direct-materials procurement exclusively.
Since Forrester’s TechRankings launch in October 2000, the company has released and maintains a total of eight TechRankings categories: eProcurement Application, Enterprise Portal Server, Marketing Automation Application, Integration Server, Customer Service Application, Application Server, Content Management, and Commerce Platform 2.0.
Forrester’s TechRankings laboratory-based methodology is open, rigorous, and unbiased. Forrester invites all important vendors, based on their product fit and momentum, to participate. TechRankings research combines the results of hands-on laboratory evaluations, strategic market analysis, and in-depth research into the needs of technology users. Each product is evaluated in the lab by Doculabs on more than 800 criteria. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in TechRankings. Forrester extensively checks and verifies results and updates the research whenever vendors are assessed in the lab. To learn more about TechRankings, visit www.forrester.com/TR.