A setup for savings

Michigan designs a program to gauge whether e-procurement can save money

For some state and local governments, online procurement programs are a

way to keep up with the pace of technology and do business as effectively

as their private-sector counterparts. But as e-commerce products become

increasingly accept-ed, vendors and state purchasing officials are trying

a new argument for e-procurement — it might save big money.

By streamlining byzantine purchasing procedures, automating tasks that

are now handled manually and enabling strategic sourcing and volume buying,

Web-based purchasing could help state and local buyers trim a princely portion

from the cost of buying goods and services. Or so goes the theory.

One major test of this is under way in Michigan, which launched its

MiBuy online procurement pilot in December. Designed to be a thorough tryout

involving three of the state's largest agencies, about 50 users and 10 suppliers,

the program should gauge a number of savings opportunities as well as its

suitability for statewide use.

"If we decide to go statewide, we expect that one of the major areas

for savings would be our ability to do more strategic sourcing with our

vendors," said Stephanie Comai, director of e-Michigan, the state's online

customer service office.

"For instance, if we've got many different agencies purchasing from

the same vendors, the MiBuy program should allow us to seek some volume

discounts. In addition, we're hoping to realize some "softer' savings by

streamlining a number of processes," Comai said. "We expect to have our

staff people spending less time doing things like filling out paperwork,

and more time doing other, added-value activities."

Because of the pilot's focus on streamlining the buying process and

trimming the costs of doing business, differences have emerged between Michigan's

online procurement program results and those of other states. While IT staffers

in other regions often found themselves wheedling, cajoling or even politely

threatening recalcitrant agency heads who worried that the new systems might

not work, the e-Michigan team had enthusiastic support from the state's

largest agencies from the beginning.

The Department of State was particularly interested in an e-procurement

solution and helped generate interest and enthusiasm for the pilot among

the state's other agencies, Comai said. "They recognized that there are

more efficient ways of buying, and they led the way in wanting to move forward

and participate in the pilot," she said.

The Corrections Department and the Michigan State Police will also

participate in the pilot. In addition to their enthusiasm for testing the

system, these agencies perform many transactions on a regular basis, which

makes them the ideal pair to test the new system, Comai said.

Epylon Corp. (San Francisco), Ariba Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) and

Accenture — formerly Andersen Consulting — (Chicago) provide the infrastructure

and implementation expertise. Epylon initially worked with the 10 multi-agency

suppliers involved in the pilot to transform their product offerings into

an online, interactive catalog, and the company is hosting MiBuy using Ariba's

e-procurement software. Accenture did an initial study of the cost and benefits

of the proposed project.

In keeping with the savings motif — and thanks in large part to the

fact that Epylon and Ariba already had an e-procurement system that could

be adapted without much customization — the state pays nothing for the pilot

other than compensation for involved staff.

If everything goes as expected, Michigan will have a uniform, streamlined

method of buying that works seamlessly across the full breadth of its vendor

community and its agencies — while also saving money.

"We're doing the pilot initially to figure out if the savings can be

generated, if there are time savings for state employees and if we can

integrate the procurement program into our existing financial and accounting

system," Comai said. "If you jump into this sort of program presuming that

it will pay for itself and it will all turn out OK, I think you're being

naive. There has to be a very strategic decision about how you're going

to assess what the costs are and what the benefits are. We've studied it

carefully, and we plan to make an informed decision about whether or not

we should move forward with a statewide implementation."

Walsh is a freelance writer based in Peekskill, N.Y.

NEXT STORY: Three firms vie for ASSIST2 work

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.