State, local agencies can streamline buying with 'procurement as a service'
- By Rutrell Yasin
- Apr 23, 2012
BidSync has unveiled a complete management system for state and local government agencies that allows them to control every aspect of their procurement and purchasing activities via a software-as-a service portal.
BidSync ProcurePointe lets government agencies manage their entire purchasing cycle by handling complex activities, including audit trails, transparency and tracking of spending within a secure data structure, said Sabrina Stover, CEO of BidSync.
Spending by federal, state and local governments now accounts for a significant portion of the U.S. gross domestic product. As a result, a new economy has emerged known as gBusiness, the intersection of business and government, which has created a $5.5 trillion market, according to officials at Onvia, another provider of e-procurement services to the government.
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Since 1999, the company has provided e-procurement services to state and municipal governments through an on-demand cloud platform, Stover said. The BidSync eProcure software suite, categorizes a wide range of vendors and suppliers to quickly focus bid efforts. It intelligently automates bid creation, organizes fast electronic bid tabulation of responses, and directs workflow to provide reports on the post-award contract management progress. BidSync has a database of 750,000 vendors and suppliers, Stover said.
The key differences now driving e-procurement are the requirement for government to make more operations transparent to the public and the desire for government to gain better visibility into its spending.
As a result, ProcurePointe provides visibility of budgets and amounts remaining with a dashboard view. Executive dashboards provide insights into spending management performances and vendor performance.
The software lets agencies easily track and know where the assets are stored. By combining receiving with invoicing, users receive a full two-way or three-way matching to ensure they are only paying for what has been received, Stover said. The software also simplifies and incorporates all types and levels of approval processes.
More than 1,000 agencies use BidSync’s software services, including the states of California and Connecticut, the Michigan School Board, and municipalities such as Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Maricopa, Ariz.; and Orange County, Calif., Stover said.
Agencies pay an annual subscription for BidSync’s on-demand software with contracts lasting three to five years, Stover said, adding that as a software-as-a-service solution the services can be customized to meet the requirements of specific agencies. Pricing can range from $20,000 for smaller agencies to $1 million for larger ones. The return on investment can be substantial once agencies gain better insight into their spending on goods and services. For example, the county of Maricopa’s Corrections Department paid $100,000 for the BidSync software and has saved $1 million for the purchase of flour for bread, Stover said.
The BidSync software is hosted by Rackspace, which has secure facilities in Chicago and in Texas that conform to federal and state government requirements, Stover said. The company has another software module, Reverse Auction, which BidSync officials hope to sell to the federal government.
Reverse auctions are online, electronic strategic sourcing events where the roles of buyers and sellers are reversed. Sellers compete with each other in real time to lower the cost for the good/service. Instead of the highest bidder winning the bid, sellers are tasked with offering the lowest bid to make them the winner of the bid.
There are other companies offering e-procurement to the government, but Stover said they do not offer solutions that cover the complete procurement life cycle. Onvia and BidNet focus on the sourcing side and putting requests for proposals into motion. Periscope Holdings Inc. focuses on secure payments. Sciquest is a company that is coming closer to offering a complete e-procurement management system, Stover said.
Rutrell Yasin is senior editor for GCN covering cloud computing.