Most B2B organizations do not utilize online procurement because there is not enough infrastructure to meet their needs. Eprocurement is popular for online retailers, but it has never been as widely used for B2B retailers, Apptricity stated. Online business will be worth $1.4 trillion globally by 2015, but only 25 percent of B2B companies have an internet presence. Many procurement organizations are beginning to see the importance of ecommerce.
Google and Amazon have both launched supplier platforms, which could be a sign the trend will continue for other retailers. The market may begin to take a more formal approach toward eprocurement with highly visible companies leading the way, Apptricity said. Progress toward eprocurement for suppliers has been slow. Ten to 15 years ago, auto suppliers made a push for ecommerce initiatives, but there was not a significant change in the industry.
While consumers can pay bills and buy products online, procurement is different from other business functions because it needs support for category-specific workflow and personalized options, according to Spend Matters. It is difficult for organizations to think globally but maintain a local focus. Creating programs with customizable options has been a challenge for proponents of eprocurement. Technology providers have not realized procurement software would need a higher degree of sophistication to meet needs such as multilingual support for global captive processing centers and flexible data dictionaries.
The wide use of mobile devices is part of the push toward eprocurement, Apptricity said. People have many more options and flexibility in how they shop. Nearly all consumer products can be purchased online, but most supplier components cannot be found on the internet. If technology catches up, B2B purchasing services could operate with greater ease, and organizations could become more agile.