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Compliance: One Provider’s Advice

University Business, April 2012

Encountering resistance to e-procurement platforms isn’t unusual, says Max Leisten, market director for higher education at SciQuest. He offers the following advice to thwart compliance issues:

  • Know your personnel. What are staff members buying and from whom? Are they using purchasing cards, spending directly with vendors or submitting purchasing orders?
  • Identify and involve key stakeholders. They should be part of the process from start to finish. “If you make them ‘owners’ of the new solution, you’ll get critical buy-in and develop evangelists,” Leisten explains.
  • Cultivate and partner with early adoptors/evangelists. These people can be enlisted to tout the benefits of the solution to others on campus.

The procurement team at the University of Maine, which implemented SciQuest’s platform in December 2010, used various strategies to bring people on board, says Leisten. These included sending out “sneak peeks” that provided information about the system and highlighting the benefits of a more automated process, and traveling “road shows” focusing on the same.

Since last August, 31,000 purchase orders have been processed through the e-procurement system. “By engaging users and providing comprehensive information,” Leisten shares, this institution was able to “get a high level of buy-in from staff and faculty.”