N.C. launches e-procurement

North Carolina home page

North Carolina this month formally launched an electronic procurement system

that eventually will handle more than $1 billion a year of the state's

purchases of goods and services.

The system, called NC [email protected] Service, was built jointly

by Accenture, a technology consulting organization, and Epylon Corp., a

public-sector e-procurement provider.

It replaces two customized systems that enabled the government to notify

vendors of bids and post bids electronically. The new system offers those

functions, as well as online services and the publishing of online catalogs,

so buyers have access to national markets for products.

The system was built under a scheme that imposes no cost on the state

and repays Accenture for its investment with a 1.75 percent fee levied on

suppliers for each order delivered. If Accenture is not reimbursed within

five years, then the North Carolina government will pay out some money under

a "shared risk" arrangement.

"The new system will produce an improved system on both the government

and vendor sides of the process," said Wendy Kuhn, a special assistant to

the state's chief information officer. "In particular, it will give government

a much better handle on how much it spends. Traditionally, we haven't been

able to track procurement expenses all that well, and this new system will

greatly improve on that, as well as get us better prices from vendors."

The system, launched Nov. 1, will be phased in over the next couple

of months, Kuhn said, during which most government agencies will come online.

Over time, the system also will include universities, community colleges,

municipalities and counties, and local education authorities.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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