Accenture bets on e-procurement

After helping develop several successful state government e-procurement systems, Accenture has hired two public purchasing veterans to bolster its place in the market.

Bill Kilmartin, who most recently worked for American Management Systems Inc.' e-procurement unit, and David Gragan, former national director of Oracle Corp.'s government e-procurement division, will manage the strategic growth and direction of the public-sector e-procurement business, said David Grubb, an Accenture partner who heads the company's global government supply-chain service unit.

Accenture has developed e-procurement systems for Michigan, North Carolina and California.

Grubb said both Kilmartin and Gragan are considered pioneers in e-procurement, a status that makes an impression on clients.

For 10 years, Kilmartin was state comptroller of Massachusetts, where he helped pioneer the E-Mall project (www.state.ma.us/emall), a multistate effort for an online outlet mall where governments can browse, order and buy goods at low prices.

Gragan, who has served as purchasing director for Texas and Indiana, is chairman of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing Inc.'s technology task force and serves on an e-procurement working group of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council.

Grubb said e-procurement systems have been around in the private sector for several years, and have really begun catching on in the public sector in the past 18 months. The savings potential, he said, is significant not only because of lower prices of products and services, but also in the administrative processes.

California's e-procurement system (www.calbuy.ca.gov), launched in March, was the latest developed by Accenture. So far only three departments are participating in the system, although it recently expanded access to more than 270 vendors and 5,000 products.

When all 200 or so agencies begin to participate, the state estimates it would save nearly $10 million on more than 265,000 purchase orders. There are plans to extend the system to municipalities and other jurisdictions in about a year.

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