Designing an Enterprise Procurement Applications to Increase Efficiency

Designing an Enterprise Procurement Applications to Increase Efficiency

How a new solution led one firm to exponential productivity growth


A large European telecommunication company needed a procurement application to manage all of its assets. They came to Daxima looking for a comprehensive solution using Microsoft SharePoint and K2 BlackPearl workflow server.

The goal was to speed up the decision-making  and approval process, reduce the need for physical paperwork, make collaboration easier, and create a more transparent process.

The Challenge

Both management and employees were pushing the multinational telecommunications company to improve and digitize their procurement process, which was inefficient and  causing delays in investments and projects.

The current workflow was broken: Some  documentation was still done on paper, and the rest was stored  in unstructured SharePoint libraries, making it impossible to effectively index and search. All communication and coordination between users took place  via email. Management was having a difficult time keeping tabs on the current status of any case due.. All this resulted in very slow and inefficient procurement process.

The Process

Early on, we knew it was important to build intuitive interface because we were dealing with a less technology-Savvy user group

We decided to develop a workflow- based solution premised on user action. This meant the process was broken up into a lot of smaller workflows. Each workflow contained action points to help drive the user towards a conclusion.

With the help of the client, we mapped all procurement phases and user roles and created custom workflows to support the process.

Due to the existing Sharepoint infrastructure, we decided to build the application using Sharepoint for the front end. The client also needed workflow technology and reporting to help them to analyze process performance and identity bottlenecks. Given those requirements, we chose K2 BlackPearl technology as our workflow server. To increase new application adoption, we suggested that we the  implement procurement process as-is and later optimize process with data gathered by the application.

Prototyping and Iteration

Following an Agile development methodology, Daxima created multiple mockup iterations. After each sprint, we met with the stakeholders and received feedback on the changes, which we then implemented in the next sprint.

Once the beta product was complete, we worked with one department to fine-tune the  whole application and process. During this process, we also included the one-off business requirements from each different department.

During this phase, we generated a detailed migration time plan with all activities—that including down time, if necessary.

The Result

The client’s procurement requests are now completed 40% to 50% faster majorly impacting overall efficiency. The entire process is more transparent, because requests are organized in workspaces that  provide all the information about  each procurement case. This allows users with adequate rights to see all the information they need about request data or status. Now, the application drives users through the process so each user can focus on doing his or her task. At higher levels, managers  have dashboards that allows them to monitor all requests and identify bottlenecks .