28 Aug 2020
Remember owning a Nokia or a Sony-Ericsson in the 2000s? These “feature phones” had plenty of functionality for the time (text, email, digital cameras, GPS navigation), but every application was built on a proprietary operating system.
Smartphones, on the other hand, are designed to cater to third-party application development. Instead of attempting to build everything themselves, iOS and Android are a platform for an ecosystem of tools and connected apps built by others.
This is known as the best-of-breed model, and it’s the direction in which technology is moving, with every business function from marketing, to finance, to procurement building their own “tech stacks” or technology ecosystems.
In a previous post I looked at the evolution from siloed systems to the rise of the procurement technology ecosystem. Here, I want to talk about how integration can work to securely connect tools, processes and data to enable information to flow into and out of a procurement platform such as VendorPanel.
How does integration happen?
Integrations mainly happen in three ways.
Like any healthy waterway, a stream is a complex, interconnected ecosystem. A procurement ecosystem shares similar characteristics - it’s adaptive, sustainable, and flows can be linear and nonlinear. The flow of information on a platform like VendorPanel occurs at multiple points:
If you’ve ever spoken with a single-system salesperson, one of their arguments against the ecosystem approach is around complexity. A company with over a dozen best-in-breed systems, they’ll tell you, will have an impossible job of managing so many applications at once and searching for piecemeal information in multiple locations.
But this is not how ecosystems work. In practice, organisations will use a preferred program as a “hub”, which pulls all the necessary information from “spoke” systems into a single dashboard. The ecosystem can be built over time, and will evolve as needs change.
Like the smartphone, your procurement hub becomes a platform for an ecosystem of tools that can be built by several software vendors. And within that model, VendorPanel can be either the hub or a spoke:
If you want to connect your VendorPanel enterprise with your business systems or a third party provider, contact your Customer Success manager.
If you want to explore VendorPanel as a hub for your procurement activity or as a specialist sourcing tool to integrate with an existing ERP or bolt on provider, contact us.
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