Punchout Technology providers are booming in the market. There are many companies promising the best experience and seamless service without having a complete understanding, expertise or know-how and at the end of the day you realize that what has been delivered to you is a far-cry from what you expected. Well, there are enough companies out there to pull wool over people’s eyes, unless you have some specific items on your checklist to identify genuine experts.
PunchOut ecommerce is not everyone’s cup of tea. Even to use it, at first, it feels like a hassle, but once people overcome this feeling and take to it, they realize the robustness of its features. The problem is with companies offering PunchOut technology. It takes a lot of experience to create PunchOut catalogs to work smoothly between buyers and vendors. Ensure that you check your service providers on the below points.
1. PO cXML is A software protocol that makes possible business communication and sharing of documents between e-commerce buyers and suppliers. This is an important component. The not so genuine do not provide this protocol. For better understanding, take a look at http://cxml.org/
2. The Standard PunchOut catalog is what is deployed by most service providers. But this is not enough. But there are very few PunchOut technology providers that can make Level 2 PunchOut catalogs. Most PunchOut vendors don’t even have an idea of what a Level 2 PunchOut catalog is.
3. E-Invoicing helps in faster bill payments. Invoicing is a very important step as it involves bill payment. Incompetent companies do not set it up correctly and only some minimal features are made available. If not set up correctly, it has even been completely absent! While some buyers may settle themselves for a physical bill, an e-invoice, if available is a great feature to have and they would surely welcome the prospect of getting an invoice electronically, not to mention the benefits of saving an electronic bill and that too as a built in feature.
4. Storefront Flexibility is very important. As much as possible it’s important to have design flexibility to suit the user’s convenience.
5. Multi-lingual capacity is almost a necessity for business spread across the globe.
6. A universal e-procurement adapter helps punchout to any system anywhere. Adapting to a given e-procurement system (be it Ariba, Unimarket or any other) the vendor must be able to send a functional page to the buyer by quickly adapting to the e-procurement system. In a fast paced world this could make or break a deal!
7. Reporting, RFQ, print and proof on demand are all important features and must be available. Advanced features include high adaptability, a highly adaptable platform that allows for customized environments.
8. The service provider cannot just stop at delivering the product. An expert would be required to walk you through the process. Most companies do not have subject matter expertise and you may find that they are themselves confused about all the features or they discover while taking you through a demo that most features are missing or not fully drawn out resulting in broken functionality. This could result in sheer helplessness and a loss of time, effort and money for the client.
Choose the right PunchOut service provider, make a note of all the points discussed to arrive at the correct decision!