Making the case for off-the-shelf procurement software

  • 12 Apr 2019
  • Procurement
Making the case for off-the-shelf procurement software Image

In any organization with a sizable IT function, making the case for a software investment that transforms procurement and finance processes includes addressing the question of whether to build that software in-house or to use a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system.

In either case, the outcome should be far superior to relying on a manual process or a system that is clearly no longer fit for its purpose.Unless there are some very specific circumstances or unique business requirements, however, the case for COTS is generally overwhelming, as illustrated below:






This document will help procurement and finance professionals faced with this choice, especially those who might be under pressure from within the business to adopt a home-grown approach, to present the case for best-practice COTS software adoption.

The Special Case

Some enterprise applications are indeed so specific to your needs that building is genuinely the best and only option. This might be the case if you need an application for a custom function or business unit where it is very difficult to find experts outside of your own business and where your internal resource delivers a far greater level of understanding and expertise than you can find elsewhere.

In all other cases - and especially where mature, highly developed software suites exist to enable application areas such as e-procurement - consider the following:

Deep domain expertise

In-house technical skills are one thing, but how well versed in procurement and finance processes and outcomes is your IT team? Technology across the source -to-pay lifecycle has evolved hugely in recent years, with vendors drawing on the expertise and experience that comes with working alongside many of the world’s leading procurement teams.

That expertise and knowledge goes into constantly refining and improving features, process enablement, time savings and usability, so that when you buy an off-the-shelf software solution, you are investing in an aggregate experience covering millions of hours, driven by the feedback and input from procurement and finance professionals worldwide.

Known unknowns

Developing in-house systems without the experience of a wider customer and user community to draw on means that you inevitably fall prey to the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know. The system will only ever be as good as the design document.

You’ll never know what key features and functions you might have missed until the end of the project when the system goes live and you get to use it. . And very often when it comes to in-house development, the end of a project is just that - the end of the project. Any future development, refinement, or improvement is subject to a whole new project procedure, with often limited appetite from the IT team to spec and deliver small work packages against a backdrop of other more compelling and business-critical work.

Medius Spend Management is structured so that all COTS modules are upgraded on a monthly or quarterly basis as standard and at no additional cost to customers. It’s a living solution, subject to constant improvement and extension informed by our customers and predicated on delivering the best possible outcomes for procurement and finance teams in businesses of all sizes and types.

Solution fit

Sometimes a compelling case can be made for building software when the open market for off-the-shelf products is highly limited, making it difficult to find a system that genuinely meets requirements or heightening the risk of price escalation (or even worse provider insolvency) when there is just a handful of vendors from which to choose.

The procurement and supply chain software market does not fit either of those scenarios. Solutions have been developed to offer exceptional functionality and flexibility at highly competitive market rates, across a wide range of local and international vendors, with detailed market analysis from major industry analysts such as Gartner to identify leaders.

Time to market

Even a well-run development team with the clearest,most comprehensive specifications and no competing demands on resources will inevitably run into delays when building an application outside their area of expertise. But what sort of IT team doesn’t have a packed schedule of other projects to run? Take very careful note of what major and minor projects are planned, make allowances for over-runs and unforeseen business-critical requirements, and identify how much resource is available to support the delivery of your project.

Best-in-class procurement software vendors have many years’ expertise in delivering both the software and the change management necessary to drive project success. At Medius our entire focus for over years has been to develop and implement source-to-pay software.

More finance and procurement resources

Our library of case studies, guides and much more are here to help you become a better spend management professional

View all our resources

Newsletter signup

Would you like to receive content for finance and procurement professionals via email?

In order to fulfill your request, we will process your personal data as outlined in our Privacy Policy

Articles that may interest you

In-house vs Off-the-shelf Procurement Software Image
Boost your business incomes with procurement and finance collaboration Image
7 predictions about the future of procurement Image

Articles that may interest you