Client-led innovation

It’s the little things that mean the most

A constant innovation programme demands a careful balance between strategic development and client-led enhancements to maximise the benefits in every quarterly release we make across our entire product suite.

It’s also about a balance between major initiatives – for example the release of new modules for Supplier Management and Savings Tracking in 2016 – and sweating the small stuff to continually re-think and re-examine the way that software is used, delivering small changes that can make an impact out of all proportion to the scale of the development.

A great example is a small feature in one of our most recent releases.

Like most providers we’ve spent a huge amount of time and energy on making the shopping and checkout process as simple as possible for users who are building large, complex baskets of goods and services.

And that can be an easy software development trap to fall into – spending all your time engineering the most complex scenarios while almost overlooking the 95% of cases where the user is doing something far simpler.

So the buying behaviour of many client users is often quite unsophisticated. No surprise there, but what was pretty amazing was just how simple many users’ demands are.

Rather than building complex multi-line requisitions, we found that in 82% of our client systems over half of all requisitions raised contained only 1 line item. And in the most extreme example, 93% of all requisitions raised by one retail client featured just a single line item.

Working back from that insight we took a close look at how we could make it as efficient as possible for those users to place that request, cloaking all the bells and whistles that users with more complex requirements might need.

The result was the One Click Order – something that is very familiar to e-commerce site users, but very much less so to users of corporate procurement systems where controls and compliance demand line level coding, budget checking, approvals and so on.

Users can simply set their own default coding structure (from their available options) and whenever adding anything the to the basket for the first time, instead of being directed to the basket and then checkout, they can simply ‘order now’ and the single line item will automatically take the default coding allocation and be committed for approvals (where necessary).

No basket, no checkout, no coding – just a simple single click that can take care of up to 93% of all orders raised on the system!