Abto Software’s team built a custom cloud-based e-procurement software. In a short time after delivery, the provided cloud procurement platform allowed our European client to increase income and ensure steady growth of their customer base.
Our cloud-based procurement solution is suitable for private and public organizations, compliant with EU and OECD regulations. We created several new features to reach the customer’s goals in business growth. Need a reliable cloud-based e-Procurement system? Our experienced team is ready to help! Let us know the details of your project.
Our client is a European provider of e-Procurement software and e-Sourcing solutions. For them, we created an award-winning e-Procurement platform. Today the cloud based procurement platform is popular worldwide, including the European Union, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Singapore, and the United States. The system is used both by private and public sector companies.
Abto Software has been responsible for the development and maintenance of the whole suite of cloud based procurement solutions since 2014.
Project Goals and Challenges
Our client needed a partner that could help them achieve steady growth of the e-Procurement system’s customer base. The devised strategy included:
- adopting state-of-the-art technologies;
- focusing on the high-quality services provided by the e-Procurement and e-Sourcing software;
- retaining existing customers by expanding cloud based procurement platform features;
- adhering to the EU, OECD regulations, and UK procurement legislation after Brexit.
Structure of e-Procurement System
Our cloud platform offers a broad range of e-Procurement software and e-Sourcing solutions. Also, it meets the needs of both private and public organizations.
- E-Sourcing tool streamlines the sourcing process. Transparent supplier selection is ensured through 4 steps:
- Submitting e-Request through intuitive eRFx tool for proposals (RFP), information (RFI), quotations (RFQ), and tenders (RFT);
- Inviting suppliers for reverse and forward e-Auctions;
- Comparing received quotas with adjustable evaluation tools and custom reports;
- Choosing the right supplier.
- Supplier Master Data Management (SMDM) enables creating and maintaining a strong supplier base. The comprehensive set of supplier management tools includes:
- Supplier master data collection and cleansing;
- New supplier onboarding;
- Internal requisitioning;
- Automated supplier profile updates;
- Integration with external supplier data sources.
- Supplier Onboarding is part of the comprehensive Supplier Master Data Management solution. It gives companies a complete toolset to evaluate, register, and communicate with the suppliers. The main features of the digital supplier onboarding include:
- Custom supplier landing pages;
- Automated approval workflows;
- Adjustable supplier questionnaires;
- Integration with external systems.
- Supplier Data Verification tool automates the collection and refinement of the supplier information. Meanwhile, it maintains high data quality. Also, it ensures the accuracy and consistency of the supplier data. We simplified supplier data access by creating searchable repositories of datasheets, brochures, and certifications. The information is presented with the help of descriptive dashboards and custom reports.
- Contract Management service offers an electronic repository for managing contracts. It makes storing, processing, and tracking e-Requests smooth and easy. It ensures full contract transparency and performance security while facilitating timely purchasing decisions.
- Catalogue Management. It lets organizations browse through a wide selection of products and services from suppliers. The eCatalogue is an efficient search tool. It automatically converts not found items into eRFQs (electronic requests for quotation). Integration with finance and order systems allows buyers to complete orders with smaller operating costs.
e-Procurement Software Modernization
As our client planned to grow the platform’s customer base, we developed and implemented several new features. This cloud procurement software upgrade allowed us to draw in new buyers and suppliers and keep existing platform users.
- Requisitioning Module simplifies the process of managing e-Requests, contracts, documents, and supplier profiles. It facilitated raising, reviewing, and approving requisitions for purchase orders, suppliers, products, and services. We added automatic generation of contracts and converting requisitions into eRFx. (eRFx is an electronic request for proposals, information, quotations, or tenders.). It helped to save administration time.
- Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Module offers tools for proactive management of supplier relationships. Organizations can establish collaboration with their key vendors by scheduling meetings, monitoring progress, evaluating suppliers through scorecards, publishing surveys, and collecting supplier feedback. The SRM module is an effective mechanism for recognizing new opportunities. It helps to select the optimal supplier engagement model, identify poor supplier performance.
- Supplier Evaluation is an extension to the e-Sourcing software. It allows organizations to audit suppliers so only the top ones can present their portfolios. Flexible evaluation methods and intuitive analysis reports simplify shortlisting of the suppliers. Also, they cut the risk of poor supplier performance.
- Multistage RFx Module guides organizations in e-sourcing for large-scale long-term projects. Along with usual features, it allows buyers to create additional stages in an RFx event. These stages can be used to ask suppliers more specific questions. Also, it reiterates already gathered the information for projects with changing specifications. The multistage approach eases the transition from RFI to RFP, to RFQ with easily adjustable questionnaires and evaluation tools.
Technology Upgrade and Migration within the Project
The Abto Software team has been working on this project for more than six years now. During that period, we have performed several technology upgrades and migrations.
- The untestable, highly coupled n-tier architecture was upgraded to loosely coupled, testable n-tier architecture. It conforms to test-driven development (TDD) and Clean Architecture principles.
- We migrated the cloud based procurement platform from Azure Cloud Services to Azure App Services. It helped with fast deployment and smooth implementation of Azure extensions.
- We performed a migration from Backbone (Marionette) to React & Redux.
- For fast deployment and smooth implementation of Azure extensions, we migrated the platform from Azure Cloud Services to Azure App Services.
- Our team migrated the front-end technologies from Grunt to WebPack. It allowed us to reduce loading times and perform complex transformations easily.
- We split the previously used single database into main and reporting databases. Also, we performed horizontal scaling with Azure App Services Auto-Scale.
- The application performance monitoring management was changed from New Relic APM to Azure Application Insights.
- The OCR engine was upgraded from open-source Tesseract and TikaOnDotNet to Azure Cognitive Services.
- The rudimentary database-based search was changed to the Azure Cognitive Search cloud solution.
- We replaced StructureMap IoC Container with Autofac IoC Container.
- We migrated from Entity Framework to Entity Framework Core.
- As Azure Scheduler fully retired on December 31, 2019, we migrated to Azure WebJobs in Azure Web Apps.
Ensuring the e-Procurement System Regulatory Compliance and Data Security
Our cloud procurement software needed to adhere to the e-Procurement legislation and security standards. For that, we covered a couple of integrations and adopted a few security regulations.
Integration of the e-Procurement software with External Procurement Databases
- We integrated the cloud procurement platform with TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) and Contracts Finder. Now a buyer can publish tender opportunities and RFx notices to these services with the help of an intuitive interface.
- We added the feature to publish public procurement notices to a new UK e-notification service Find a Tender (FTS).
Security Compliance of the e-Procurement and e-Sourcing software
- ISO 9001 Quality management systems
- ISO/IEC 27001 Information technology — Security techniques — Information security management systems — Requirements
- EU GDPR The General Data Protection Regulation
Team and Technologies
- Team: project manager, solution architect, 2 developers, QA.
- E-procurement platform deployment: web-based (Azure DevOps), cloud, SaaS.
- Tech stack: .Net Framework 4.7, .Net Standard 2.0, .NET Core 3.1, MS Azure, ASP.NET Web API and MVC 5, ASP.NET Core, OWIN Middleware, Autofac, Entity Framework ORM, Backbone Marionette, React.js, Grunt, Webpack, Single Sign-On (SSO) support for Azure Active Directory and other Identity Providers with SAML 2, OpenID Connect (OIDC) protocols, SendGrid, Mandrill, Git, Unit testing with xUnit.
- Azure Services: Azure App Services, Azure Web Jobs and Function, Azure SQL, Azure Tables, Azure Queues, Azure Blob Storage, Azure Redis, Azure App Insights, Azure Search, Azure Translate.
- Azure DevOps Services: Azure CI/CD Pipelines, Azure Boards, Azure Test Plans, Azure DevOps Wiki.
- Computer Vision tools: Azure Cognitive Services.
Abto Software delivered comprehensive, cloud-based procurement solution and e-Sourcing software. It can be used by public and private bodies. Technology transitions and new features ensured a steady growth of the customer base. And, as a result, our client’s income increased.
Our cloud-based e-Procurement and e-Sourcing management software improve the procurement strategies of organizations. Business partners can share and execute processes with increased flexibility and agility as a response to customers’ needs.
Frequently asked questions
What is an e-Procurement system?
E-Procurement system is the software responsible for electronic procurement or supplier exchange. Via web interface or other networked systems, it can be used for the purchase and sale of supplies, equipment, works, and services. It is created to put in the order procurement process and automate document flow, management, and analysis.
What are the main functions of e-procurement?
Every e-Procurement system’s goal is to make companies more profitable, flexible, and up-to-date. This software helps to establish a trustable relationship between a business and its suppliers by reducing paperwork, errors and saving time.
The main benefits of e-Procurement:
- Reduce errors caused by manual management;
- Streamline the purchasing and tendering processes;
- Reduce the number of unnecessary documentation;
- Improve transactions speed;
- Minimize business process cost and clarify spendings;
- Improve procurement strategies;
- Time and resources-saving process automation, and more.
What is e-sourcing?
E-Sourcing is a process when a business automates finding, selection, and collaborating with suppliers with help of computer software. Usually, e-Sourcing software is web-based and operates online. The tool helps to collect data about suppliers, their products, services, and pricing.
What is the difference between e-Sourcing and e-Procurement?
E-Sourcing software deals with strategy. It analyzes and identifies from which suppliers the business can get the right product or service. It includes supply-base analysis, spending analysis, specification, requests for proposals (RFPs), requests for quotations (RFQs), and more. E-Procurement system completes purchasing cycle. It is responsible for processes like ordering, payment, receipting, requisitioning, and more.