State and local EMall goes pro

State and local EMall goes pro

By Claire E. House

GCN Staff

MARCH 23—Massachusetts has selected a vendor to roll out the Multi-State EMall Web buying system across the state.
Intelisys Electronic Commerce Inc. of New York will begin deploying the EMall next month to state and local agencies within Massachusetts' borders. The company supplied software for the pilot, which the commonwealth launched in late 1998.
A slew of commercial Web procurement services for government have appeared since the pioneering system's debut, all seeking a piece of the vast state and local government market.
The pilot showed that buyers can find lower prices through cooperative buying and save money by eliminating paper processes, pilot organizers said. Four other states participated, buying $386,000 in goods and services online from several of one another's contracts. [See story at www.gcn.com/state/vol5_no11/news/518-1.html.]
Governments outside of Massachusetts will be able to buy through the EMall's Purchasing Web Service at no cost for small buys that don't need approvals or systems integration, said Joe Quigg, Intelisys EC vice president for government sales. Suppliers with established Web buying systems will be able to connect directly at no charge, as well.
To run the full-fledged, integrated system that automates procurement from requisition to payment, buyers will need to license Intelisys' IAC Enterprise ASP software, as Massachusetts has. Intelisys will host buyer data on its own servers to reduce maintenance costs, although it can build an internal setup if an agency so desires, Quigg said.
"We encourage other states to keep abreast of what we're doing and contact us if they're interested in participating," said Nancy Burke, management information systems director of the Massachusetts Operational Services Division.
Suppliers new to e-commerce will be able to create electronic catalogs through the Intelisys Catalog Web processing service, and the company will again host the data. Suppliers will pay Intelisys a fee per transaction for the setup.
Both buyers and sellers enter and update their own data on the system.
The new EMall will let users perform cross-catalog searches for goods and services, Quigg said. Pilot participants trudged in and out of vendor sites to compare prices.
To effectively buy through the EMall, governments that require competitive bidding need a law on the books letting them buy from contracts competitively bid elsewhere; many governments have such a law in place.
Massachusetts plans to complete its rollout by early next year.

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