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e-Sourcing Platforms for S&P process: ARIBA & Xfer

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eSourcing platforms not only facilitate real-time and endless negotiation between competent suppliers, but also guarantee transparency. This is where suppliers compete amongst themselves to provide the best possible price for the highest possible quantity under prevailing circumstances in order to attain the order.



This platform has multiple modules - the buyer, the supplier and the requester. An eSourcing platform provides a more effective system for every purchase. The more items that you use it for, the easier it gets because everything is already set up and can be quickly modified. By consistently using the platform this makes it easier for suppliers, knowing that they have an easy and adoptable format to follow when they submit a bid and will be more driven to doubly work for your organization.

Initially, as is everywhere, there are challenges with these platforms or any kind of platform for that matter. One of the challenges is adoption by buyers - the key thing for any organization is to be able to bring in change management or a new way of doing business. Let us see how we were able to overcome this with one of our mining clients. 

The client is an industry leader in value creation with a business objective to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining. The company had to implement e-Sourcing platforms through all their divisions including South America for processes related to contract management, e-bids, RFXs as well as for communication between supply base and stakeholders.

The e-platforms were already available for all sites of the company in any country. The sites in Latin America did not show any interest nor accepted to move to the new technology available. Nevertheless, the company wanted to continue the standardization of sourcing and procurement tools in the rest of the divisions in order to align with the corporate goals and SOP.

Infosys BPM team had to deploy and implement the new platforms with stakeholders and the client's supply base in the South American region. When new e-tools were deployed, people were reluctant to use a different way of communication and break away from the traditional modes. The same situation was with some suppliers, hence, the challenge was external too.

In order to continue with the implementation and minimize the resistance, Infosys BPM team began to reach out to the stakeholders and vendors to explain the benefits of the e-tools. They emphasized on aspects such as time-effectiveness on communication, information security and ease of sharing information for RFXs. 

The local supply base was used to deliver their proposals in hardcopy. Hence, in terms of time, it was not productive and the process of bids in some cases was taking too much time to conclude its cycle. Moreover, considering the client's site is in a remote location, the traditional process to deliver proposals in hardcopy proved impractical.

Another way to start convincing stakeholders and the supply base was through the proposal of a pilot program. So, the team asked support from one of the client's site stakeholder to use a requirement from them as a pilot project and once the site approved the pilot program, Infosys BPM team began reaching out to the supply base. The team faced challenges pertaining to the language, as the training material was in English and most of the local suppliers in South America were not comfortable with it. Ultimately, the Infosys BPM team proactively translated the material for the suppliers in order to support them and ensure the implementation of the e-tools.

How we brought about Change Management

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  • Local language: Created training material in Spanish to ensure easy & simple understanding of modules in their local lingo. 
  • User interface training: The team supported the vendors to access the e-platform and helped them create their profiles.
  • Training stakeholders: Guidance to the usage of tools and resolve issues, if any.
  • Availability: Overall, the team was readily available for any difficulty. 

Ultimately, with the required support and assistance from Infosys BPM team and other stakeholders, the client realized the benefits of the e-platform and adopted it. 

What was the value delivered?
Vendors and stakeholders began to use more of the new e-tools; information like RFIs, RFPs and RFQs continued to flow faster by 40%.
The vendors started to share information & proposals and connected through the new tools instead of the traditional process.
The team were able to deliver savings of 14% from the initial spend for the pilot program.

Way ahead
After interacting with the tools, vendors were more comfortable to use the new e-platforms to provide quotations over the traditional hardcopies or e-mails. The main reason being, now they were more confident that the proposals gained visibility and were enthusiastic with the added transparency on each process of the bid. The level of participation from client's supply base is much better now and the initial implementation brought around one hundred vendors using the new e-tools on RFXs processes.

The implementation of the e-platform was then successful, as the emphasis was not on imposing a new tool. The team became proactive about communicating appropriately to stakeholders and suppliers the benefits and transparency of the processes through Ariba & Xfer. Additionally, timely support was provided to vendors for using the new platform and by translating the training material in the local language. With our extensive experience and learnings the team was able to deliver value efficiently.  

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