Frequently Asked Questions about our Online Procurement software for Source-to-Pay management

General Information

How does Online Procurement work and what does it allow you to do?

Online Procurement is a modular platform available in Saas (Software as a Service) and Cloud mode accessible via browser from any device (desktop, tablet, and mobile). The software is suitable for performing management of purchases and suppliers. Specifically, the different modules of the suite allow you to easily manage orders, have real-time control over spending, plan to spend strategically, select and manage suppliers more efficiently, ensuring greater standardization of procedures and contracts.

Which functionalities are included in the Online Procurement Suite?

Online Procurement is the Source-to-Pay solution that allows you to manage the entire procurement process in a completely digital and automated way, from the creation of RFPs to the assessment of supplier and process performance.
The main features included in the suite are:

  • Creation of negotiation events
  • Proposal comparing
  • Purchase from RFPs or an electronic catalog
  • Access to a global Supplier Portal with pre-qualified suppliers
  • Selection of suppliers
  • Supplier Relationship management
  • Management of contracts with suppliers
  • Data analysis and their strategic use to plan purchases

How can you access the platform?

Online Procurement is accessible via browser and does not entail any installation costs for the Customer. Access is available 24/7 from any type of device (desktop, tablet, and mobile), and both buyer and supplier side.

Who manages the IT infrastructure?

The management of hardware platform, software, software maintenance, data saving and all technical activities related to the infrastructure are the responsibility of DigitalPA. The data processed in the software platforms are property of the Customer and can be fully downloaded in open standard formats (*.xml, *.json, *.csv) from the management panels, or through fully navigable backups with a web-based structure. The service includes technical support provided through our Help Desk.

The dedicated servers are located in Italy in proprietary racks hosted at the Aruba Datacenters in Arezzo and Milan, certified by the severe ISO 9001 and 27001 Standards to guarantee a secure IT and management infrastructure, and therefore total integrity and confidentiality of processed data.

How long does it take to activate the platform?

The average time for installation and delivery of the software is approximately 7 working days. If a customized configuration is required, the timing will be evaluated and agreed upon with the buyer, to ensure quick activation times and alignment with the customer’s needs.

In which languages is the platform available?

The Online Procurement suite is born multilingual! All the applications and manuals are currently available in English, Italian, and Spanish. The application can, upon request, manage additional languages, including Arabic.

Does the platform manage multi-company access?

The platform can be configured to manage multi-company access. Each company can manage its own organization chart by setting up specific permissions and levels of action for professionals having an account to access the platform and involved in the procurement process. The purchasing department of each company can manage their purchases and their negotiations independently, sharing the complete list of suppliers when required. The multi-company is the solution to centralize the purchases and data of all those companies that have purchasing offices located all over the world, also guaranteeing a standard in the negotiation process.

Is there an internal messaging system?

The Online Procurement internal messaging system allows you to manage internal communication in a centralized and functional way saving time and resources. The messaging system is integrated across all areas of the platform, allowing centralized control of communications with all stakeholders, including any third parties not necessarily involved in procurement.

Is it possible to customize the supplier qualification forms?

Yes, it is possible to customize the supplier qualification forms thanks to an advanced Supplier Relationship Management configuration system that complies with Buyers’ specific needs. We know that identifying the right supplier starts from the qualification process, so asking for the right requirements based on business needs is the foundation for establishing successful partnerships.

How does supplier onboarding work?

Onlineprocurement simplifies the supplier onboarding process ensuring maximum collaboration and transparent communication. Firstly, an advanced search system allows you to identify the supplier most in line with purchase requests. Secondly, you can use standardized workflows to invite a supplier to submit offers in the event of negotiations or complex procedures.

Does the system send notifications and reminders?

The features of the Online Procurement suite are indivisible from a system for managing timely and accurate automatic notifications and alerts, necessary for flawless contract execution. Thanks to smart notifications, which can be configured according to events, you can receive alerts and reminders on any event, for example for the expiration of contracts or for specific documents to be updated, and are automatically sorted based on the contacts configured for each area of responsibility. Notifications are also configurable for suppliers.

How are communications with the supplier managed?

The platform allows you to manage communications with suppliers through a direct messaging system, integrated with the notification system relating to deadlines. Communication takes place directly within the application and may concern, for example, requests for clarification and documentation. Documents received through messaging are automatically integrated and stored in the specific file of the procedure. This feature allows you to view the history of communications with key suppliers and suppliers while maintaining the history of conversations.

How does the Vendor Rating work?

The Vendor Rating functionalities, part of the suite’s Supplier Relationship Management module, allows enforcing the assessment of supplier performance in a highly customized manner for each company. Specifically, Online Procurement allows you to monitor through customizable automatisms specific evaluation KPIs that are valid and significant for that specific company. The KPIs used in Vendor Rating are many and vary from sector to sector, however, they can be traced back to some macro-areas such as quality of supply, delivery details, and price, of course.

This monitoring can be completed by the configuration of dynamic questionnaires and checklists to be periodically submitted to suppliers based on company needs.

Can you perform Vendor Scouting?

Absolutely, yes: Online Procurement accelerates the process of identifying suppliers in line with business needs and Vendor Scouting is one of the suite’s greatest strengths. The intuitive and practical search integrated with the Supplier Portal, a centralized global aggregation system of Suppliers, allows Buyers to access a large network of pre-qualified Suppliers in all the main product sectors. The advantages of this system are strong partnerships and new savings opportunities through the acquisition of goods and services at a more profitable price.

What kind of negotiations can be managed?

With Online Procurement you can manage different types of negotiation and handle different award criteria (e.g., maximum discount, economically more advantageous). According to the criterion selected during the setup phase, the system can identify the supplier in line with the selected criteria. You can also manage recurring orders, RFP, RFQ, and RFI.

How do bids work?

Faced with the buyer’s need to activate a relaunch procedure on the proposals received, the suppliers selected for that negotiation can submit a new improved offer.

Is it possible to connect Online Procurement with ERP systems?

The Online Procurement suite can be interfaced with various ERP software the customers is already using, such as SAP. These integrations do not require changes to the existing systems but are fitted to specific business needs. The IT infrastructure and the long experience of our software developers made it possible to integrate with various systems managed by third parties.

Is it possible to monitor the Supply Chain?

Online Procurement allows you to constantly review the status of the purchasing and spending processes managed through the platform. All reporting and analysis operations are always available and offer updated real-time data for clear-cut and practical monitoring targeting continuous optimization.

How does bid assessment work?

The evaluation of the proposal presented within the platform takes place based on the setup defined by the buyer who can decide to divide the evaluation into different stages for convenience. Each phase can use quantitative and/or discretionary criteria able to support the Procurement Officer and his collaborators to identify, even with the aid of automated functionalities, the offer most in line with business needs.

Is it possible to involve external experts in the proposal assessment?

For more complex e-sourcing events, you can involve external experts and consultants getting support during the offer evaluation process. A specific area dedicated for these consultants allows you to keep this important process within the application by standardizing the procedure and speeding up communications.

Is it possible to manage catalogs, products, and price lists?

Online Procurement Online Procurement speeds up the management of recurring purchases through arranging an e-Catalogs specifically dedicated to the setup of price lists pre-defined by the buyer and in which the supplier can upload their products, thus building a real online catalog that can be browsed and reviewed by all corporate departments, as well as by external experts.

e-Catalogs allow you to centralize order and purchasing process with constant savings in management times and costs, starting with the search through custom filters useful to quickly identifying the best product, and then proceeding with the purchase in one click.

Among the advantages of managing purchases through the e-Catalog, the use of massive import and export functionalities is very practical and useful during the setting up phase, as well as when updates are needed both on buyer and supplier side.

Is it possible to break down the negotiation into different stages?

Absolutely yes, the Buyer can use a variety of negotiation models and define accordingly different stages. A company can decide, for that matter, the administrative and technical documentation will be examined separately (when available) and later assess the economic / commercial documentation. The system offers automated functionalities to simplify the process, and to evaluate step-by-step only the suppliers who satisfy their needs.

Is there a secure repository to keep all proposals protected until the official opening?

Proposals presented in the negotiation events managed through Online Procurement are stored in a secure repository and protected by the registered protocol called Secure Digital Proposal ©. The protocol guarantees fair competition between suppliers as it denies anyone access to proposals already submitted, preventing competitors’ strategies from being disclosed before offers are officially evaluated.

The security of the platform is also confirmed by the application of the ISO / IEC 27001 Standards useful to manage integrity and confidentiality of data processed.

How does the search for specific procedures and information within the platform work?

Any data available in the Online Procurement platform can be founded through search filters that work at a global level and allows you to find documents, conversations, and contracts specifically related to a procedure.

Can the platform also be used to manage tenders for Public Administrations?

Yes, Online Procurement is available also for Public Administrations.

Support

Are support materials available for using the e-Procurement software?

DigitalPA provides several multilingual manuals and video guides for self-learning guiding you to use the software. Moreover, our team of experts supports customer’ teams and the Procurement Officer with live training sessions and dedicated consultancy sessions. We have helped hundreds of companies in the digitization of procurement processes, understand your everyday issues, and have all the know-how to support you in finding the most suitable solution.

Are technical support and assistance included?

A complete and reliable solution such as Online Procurement cannot be detached from technical support and 5-star assistance. Our team of specialists ensures and guarantees immediate support which is absolutely included in the platform usage fee.

If more strategic support is required for the management of complex issues related to proposal or evaluation, DigitalPA also offers specialized consultancy that can be quoted separately.

 

Costs and Services

What is the cost of the software and what services are included?

The monthly or annual purchase fees of the Online Procurement software vary according to the specific modules of the platform activated to fully or partially manage the procurement process.

The costs are customized based on an all-inclusive assessment of the customers’ needs relating to the functions and services to be activated, to the company size, to the need for preliminary training and the duration of the contractual relationship, as well as requests for graphic and service customization.

Is it possible to customize layout and graphics?

The graphic interface of our Online Procurement software can be customized starting from branding of the login page using the company logo and a color palette aligned with the brand. The management back-end, on the other hand, can be customized following a separate quote for the task.

Is it possible to implement new features and request customizations?

Online Procurement is a software designed to be fine-tuned and customized according to customer’s needs.

The implementation of completely new features, or features complementary to existing ones, is essential in the process of listening and modeling the platform around specific workflows already in place or to be implemented in the business organization. From the advanced customization of the Vendor Rating to the integration with the ERP software already in use by the company, DigitalPA constantly strives to find the most suitable solution for the most complex needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about our Online Procurement software for Source-to-Pay management

General Information

How does Online Procurement work and what does it allow you to do?

Online Procurement is a modular platform available in Saas (Software as a Service) and Cloud mode accessible via browser from any device (desktop, tablet, and mobile). The software is suitable for performing management of purchases and suppliers. Specifically, the different modules of the suite allow you to easily manage orders, have real-time control over spending, plan to spend strategically, select and manage suppliers more efficiently, ensuring greater standardization of procedures and contracts.

Which functionalities are included in the Online Procurement Suite?

Online Procurement is the Source-to-Pay solution that allows you to manage the entire procurement process in a completely digital and automated way, from the creation of RFPs to the assessment of supplier and process performance.
The main features included in the suite are:

  • Creation of negotiation events
  • Proposal comparing
  • Purchase from RFPs or an electronic catalog
  • Access to a global Supplier Portal with pre-qualified suppliers
  • Selection of suppliers
  • Supplier Relationship management
  • Management of contracts with suppliers
  • Data analysis and their strategic use to plan purchases

How can you access the platform?

Online Procurement is accessible via browser and does not entail any installation costs for the Customer. Access is available 24/7 from any type of device (desktop, tablet, and mobile), and both buyer and supplier side.

Who manages the IT infrastructure?

The management of hardware platform, software, software maintenance, data saving and all technical activities related to the infrastructure are the responsibility of DigitalPA. The data processed in the software platforms are property of the Customer and can be fully downloaded in open standard formats (*.xml, *.json, *.csv) from the management panels, or through fully navigable backups with a web-based structure. The service includes technical support provided through our Help Desk.

The dedicated servers are located in Italy in proprietary racks hosted at the Aruba Datacenters in Arezzo and Milan, certified by the severe ISO 9001 and 27001 Standards to guarantee a secure IT and management infrastructure, and therefore total integrity and confidentiality of processed data.

How long does it take to activate the platform?

The average time for installation and delivery of the software is approximately 7 working days. If a customized configuration is required, the timing will be evaluated and agreed upon with the buyer, to ensure quick activation times and alignment with the customer’s needs.

In which languages is the platform available?

The Online Procurement suite is born multilingual! All the applications and manuals are currently available in English, Italian, and Spanish. The application can, upon request, manage additional languages, including Arabic.

Does the platform manage multi-company access?

The platform can be configured to manage multi-company access. Each company can manage its own organization chart by setting up specific permissions and levels of action for professionals having an account to access the platform and involved in the procurement process. The purchasing department of each company can manage their purchases and their negotiations independently, sharing the complete list of suppliers when required. The multi-company is the solution to centralize the purchases and data of all those companies that have purchasing offices located all over the world, also guaranteeing a standard in the negotiation process.

Is there an internal messaging system?

The Online Procurement internal messaging system allows you to manage internal communication in a centralized and functional way saving time and resources. The messaging system is integrated across all areas of the platform, allowing centralized control of communications with all stakeholders, including any third parties not necessarily involved in procurement.

Is it possible to customize the supplier qualification forms?

Yes, it is possible to customize the supplier qualification forms thanks to an advanced Supplier Relationship Management configuration system that complies with Buyers’ specific needs. We know that identifying the right supplier starts from the qualification process, so asking for the right requirements based on business needs is the foundation for establishing successful partnerships.

How does supplier onboarding work?

Onlineprocurement simplifies the supplier onboarding process ensuring maximum collaboration and transparent communication. Firstly, an advanced search system allows you to identify the supplier most in line with purchase requests. Secondly, you can use standardized workflows to invite a supplier to submit offers in the event of negotiations or complex procedures.

Does the system send notifications and reminders?

The features of the Online Procurement suite are indivisible from a system for managing timely and accurate automatic notifications and alerts, necessary for flawless contract execution. Thanks to smart notifications, which can be configured according to events, you can receive alerts and reminders on any event, for example for the expiration of contracts or for specific documents to be updated, and are automatically sorted based on the contacts configured for each area of responsibility. Notifications are also configurable for suppliers.

How are communications with the supplier managed?

The platform allows you to manage communications with suppliers through a direct messaging system, integrated with the notification system relating to deadlines. Communication takes place directly within the application and may concern, for example, requests for clarification and documentation. Documents received through messaging are automatically integrated and stored in the specific file of the procedure. This feature allows you to view the history of communications with key suppliers and suppliers while maintaining the history of conversations.

How does the Vendor Rating work?

The Vendor Rating functionalities, part of the suite’s Supplier Relationship Management module, allows enforcing the assessment of supplier performance in a highly customized manner for each company. Specifically, Online Procurement allows you to monitor through customizable automatisms specific evaluation KPIs that are valid and significant for that specific company. The KPIs used in Vendor Rating are many and vary from sector to sector, however, they can be traced back to some macro-areas such as quality of supply, delivery details, and price, of course.

This monitoring can be completed by the configuration of dynamic questionnaires and checklists to be periodically submitted to suppliers based on company needs.

Can you perform Vendor Scouting?

Absolutely, yes: Online Procurement accelerates the process of identifying suppliers in line with business needs and Vendor Scouting is one of the suite’s greatest strengths. The intuitive and practical search integrated with the Supplier Portal, a centralized global aggregation system of Suppliers, allows Buyers to access a large network of pre-qualified Suppliers in all the main product sectors. The advantages of this system are strong partnerships and new savings opportunities through the acquisition of goods and services at a more profitable price.

What kind of negotiations can be managed?

With Online Procurement you can manage different types of negotiation and handle different award criteria (e.g., maximum discount, economically more advantageous). According to the criterion selected during the setup phase, the system can identify the supplier in line with the selected criteria. You can also manage recurring orders, RFP, RFQ, and RFI.

How do bids work?

Faced with the buyer’s need to activate a relaunch procedure on the proposals received, the suppliers selected for that negotiation can submit a new improved offer.

Is it possible to connect Online Procurement with ERP systems?

The Online Procurement suite can be interfaced with various ERP software the customers is already using, such as SAP. These integrations do not require changes to the existing systems but are fitted to specific business needs. The IT infrastructure and the long experience of our software developers made it possible to integrate with various systems managed by third parties.

Is it possible to monitor the Supply Chain?

Online Procurement allows you to constantly review the status of the purchasing and spending processes managed through the platform. All reporting and analysis operations are always available and offer updated real-time data for clear-cut and practical monitoring targeting continuous optimization.

How does bid assessment work?

The evaluation of the proposal presented within the platform takes place based on the setup defined by the buyer who can decide to divide the evaluation into different stages for convenience. Each phase can use quantitative and/or discretionary criteria able to support the Procurement Officer and his collaborators to identify, even with the aid of automated functionalities, the offer most in line with business needs.

Is it possible to involve external experts in the proposal assessment?

For more complex e-sourcing events, you can involve external experts and consultants getting support during the offer evaluation process. A specific area dedicated for these consultants allows you to keep this important process within the application by standardizing the procedure and speeding up communications.

Is it possible to manage catalogs, products, and price lists?

Online Procurement Online Procurement speeds up the management of recurring purchases through arranging an e-Catalogs specifically dedicated to the setup of price lists pre-defined by the buyer and in which the supplier can upload their products, thus building a real online catalog that can be browsed and reviewed by all corporate departments, as well as by external experts.

e-Catalogs allow you to centralize order and purchasing process with constant savings in management times and costs, starting with the search through custom filters useful to quickly identifying the best product, and then proceeding with the purchase in one click.

Among the advantages of managing purchases through the e-Catalog, the use of massive import and export functionalities is very practical and useful during the setting up phase, as well as when updates are needed both on buyer and supplier side.

Is it possible to break down the negotiation into different stages?

Absolutely yes, the Buyer can use a variety of negotiation models and define accordingly different stages. A company can decide, for that matter, the administrative and technical documentation will be examined separately (when available) and later assess the economic / commercial documentation. The system offers automated functionalities to simplify the process, and to evaluate step-by-step only the suppliers who satisfy their needs.

Is there a secure repository to keep all proposals protected until the official opening?

Proposals presented in the negotiation events managed through Online Procurement are stored in a secure repository and protected by the registered protocol called Secure Digital Proposal ©. The protocol guarantees fair competition between suppliers as it denies anyone access to proposals already submitted, preventing competitors’ strategies from being disclosed before offers are officially evaluated.

The security of the platform is also confirmed by the application of the ISO / IEC 27001 Standards useful to manage integrity and confidentiality of data processed.

How does the search for specific procedures and information within the platform work?

Any data available in the Online Procurement platform can be founded through search filters that work at a global level and allows you to find documents, conversations, and contracts specifically related to a procedure.

Can the platform also be used to manage tenders for Public Administrations?

Yes, Online Procurement is available also for Public Administrations.

Support

Are support materials available for using the e-Procurement software?

DigitalPA provides several multilingual manuals and video guides for self-learning guiding you to use the software. Moreover, our team of experts supports customer’ teams and the Procurement Officer with live training sessions and dedicated consultancy sessions. We have helped hundreds of companies in the digitization of procurement processes, understand your everyday issues, and have all the know-how to support you in finding the most suitable solution.

Are technical support and assistance included?

A complete and reliable solution such as Online Procurement cannot be detached from technical support and 5-star assistance. Our team of specialists ensures and guarantees immediate support which is absolutely included in the platform usage fee.

If more strategic support is required for the management of complex issues related to proposal or evaluation, DigitalPA also offers specialized consultancy that can be quoted separately.

 

Costs and Services

What is the cost of the software and what services are included?

The monthly or annual purchase fees of the Online Procurement software vary according to the specific modules of the platform activated to fully or partially manage the procurement process.

The costs are customized based on an all-inclusive assessment of the customers’ needs relating to the functions and services to be activated, to the company size, to the need for preliminary training and the duration of the contractual relationship, as well as requests for graphic and service customization.

Is it possible to customize layout and graphics?

The graphic interface of our Online Procurement software can be customized starting from branding of the login page using the company logo and a color palette aligned with the brand. The management back-end, on the other hand, can be customized following a separate quote for the task.

Is it possible to implement new features and request customizations?

Online Procurement is a software designed to be fine-tuned and customized according to customer’s needs.

The implementation of completely new features, or features complementary to existing ones, is essential in the process of listening and modeling the platform around specific workflows already in place or to be implemented in the business organization. From the advanced customization of the Vendor Rating to the integration with the ERP software already in use by the company, DigitalPA constantly strives to find the most suitable solution for the most complex needs.

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