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SciQuest Refreshes Collaborative eProcurement

Enterprise-wide spending compliance and aggregate buying are among the features added to the on-demand procurement and supplier-management offering.

SciQuest, which provides on-demand procurement and supplier-management software and services, on Thursday released the latest iteration of its eProcurement offering, designed to enable enterprises to ensure global, corporate-wide spending compliance, aggregate buying power, and consolidate multi-location organizations' purchasing functions.

The Cary, N.C.-based developer created an shopping marketplace for procurement professionals, said Max Leisten, market director, in an interview. SciQuest attracts and qualifies suppliers, and drives its approximately 300 business, government, and higher-education customers to these preferred suppliers, he said. SciQuest then streamlines the order, invoice, and purchase process, automating the process and ensuring compliance with buyers' contracts, said Leisten.

"It's built around attracting suppliers, both non-diverse and diverse suppliers, qualifying them, and then allowing your sourcing team to engage in bidding events and making them available to your shoppers," he said.

SciQuest targets vertical markets such as life sciences--including 13 of the top 15 life sciences companies--healthcare, higher education, government, and other industries.

"There's tremendous cost pressure. [Life sciences companies'] patents are expiring. They are negotiating contracts at a global level: They want a contract across the globe, but also must be accommodating to local needs," said Leisten. "Being able to identify what can be negotiated and supported globally versus what can be negotiated and supported locally is a challenge for all companies."

In its latest iteration, the SciQuest eProcurement solution includes the multi-business unit, which allows organizations with multiple locations--including those in different countries--to consolidate their purchasing functions with centralized technology and purchasing control, according to SciQuest. For example, corporate headquarters can mandate global use of a particular rental car agency, shipping company, and hotel chain, and inform all local offices of these selections. But local offices then have the option of choosing regional marketing firms, said Leisten.

With its new Consortium feature, organizations now can aggregate buying power in a virtual environment that centralizes sourcing and catalog-management processes in order to deliver deeper discounts and more insight into group spending, according to SciQuest. Organizations with similar interests, enterprises with partners, or other like-minded groups can create consortia, said Leisten.

In addition, SciQuest added pCard Marketplace, which allows enterprises, states, or group purchasing organizations to invite the public into general membership for Internet-based shopping that grants buyers access to discounts. The State of Georgia--a SciQuest customer--set-up a website allowing small businesses to purchase at its reduced rates, for example, Leisten said.

At the suggestion of its customers, SciQuest also made more investments in its healthcare-specific supply solutions, adding the SciQuest Virtual Item Master that allows healthcare organizations to manage contract-compliance for physician preference items and purchased services, SciQuest said. The developer also improved its catalog and price-management capabilities to ensure pricing and goods are up-to-date and accurate, the company added.

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