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Survey Finds Inefficient Procurement Systems Cost North American Businesses $1.5 Billion Annually

Only one quarter of procurement professionals believe their procurement system makes them much more productive

Morrisville, NC – WEBWIRE

Inefficient procurement tools are costing businesses in the United States and Canada more than $1.5 billion per year and wasting more than 32 million man hours, according to a new survey conducted by The Topline Strategy Group. The report, sponsored by SciQuest and titled “Optimizing Your Sourcing and Procurement: Five Simple Rules" found that just over one quarter, or 28 percent, of sourcing and procurement professionals believe their procurement system makes them much more productive.

With North American companies spending more than $1.4 billion on enterprise software applications in 2013, according to Gartner,[1] this amounts to a massive productivity gap eating away at bottom lines. Topline Strategy surveyed 241 sourcing and finance professionals at more than 200 US companies with $500 million in revenue to determine the steps organizations can take to achieve a positive return on their procurement investment.  

The findings indicate that ineffective procurement systems have an impact that goes beyond hard costs. Sixty-eight percent of respondents who said their procurement systems do not make them more productive said that they would use the time lost to inefficiency to find more savings opportunities. According to the report, “they would also use that time to guide purchasers on making better choices, to get more spend categories under contract, purchase more cost-effective items and get more bids per tender.”

“When sourced and implemented correctly, procurement systems represent an opportunity for organizations to drastically reduce costs, improve process efficiency and gain visibility into spending decisions,” said Mark Digman, Senior Vice President of Marketing at SciQuest. “This research from The Topline Strategy Group indicates that most organizations are falling well short of these transformative benefits. The concept of turning spending into a source of savings takes some getting used to, but it’s an idea that more purchasing and sourcing professionals need to embrace.”

Based on its survey, The Topline Strategy Group report outlines five simple rules for organizations interested in maximizing the return on their investment in procurement systems. These rules include:

  1. Choose the right software: More than 50 percent of respondents who were not satisfied with their procurement systems cited a convoluted user interface as a reason for dissatisfaction, while a whopping 38 percent responded that their system lacks critical features that limit what can be done.
  2. Don’t get caught up in vendor standardization: Only 16 percent of respondents who used two applications from the same vendor rated both as “making them much more productive. Meanwhile, only 6 percent of respondents cited ERP integration as a driver of satisfaction.
  3. Invest in implementation: Regardless of who performed implementation services, respondents found that how well that organization performed, which correlates highly with the level of investment, makes a big impact. Seventy-three percent of companies where the implementer “did a great job and added a lot of value” were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their system.
  4. Frequently update and improve the system: Forty-eight percent of companies that regularly improve their system with new features and capabilities, something closely associated with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery, said that their procurement system makes them much more productive. Only 16 percent of respondents whose systems are not regularly improved said the same.
  5. Use software that is easy for casual, occasional users: Seventy-eight percent of respondents believe that employees would find better deals and save their company money if corporate procurement tools were easier to use. Eighty-one percent believe that easier-to-use tools would reduce rogue spending.

The full report from The Topline Strategy Group is available by request. SciQuest and The Topline Strategy Group will present the results in a webinar on October 9, 2014. For more details on the webinar, please visit here.


[1] Gartner, Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide 2011-2018, 3Q14 Update, September 10, 2014.

About The Topline Strategy Group

The Topline Strategy Group is a Strategy Consulting and Technology Due Diligence firm that specializes helping technology-based companies align their solutions with the needs of the market. Topline Strategy Group has assisted over 100 companies deliver solutions that provide their customers more value and a higher ROI. . Staffed with individuals who bring a rare mix of strategy expertise gained at top strategy consulting firms and operating experience gained at start up and established companies, the firm’s Strategy Consulting Practice has a proven track record of helping companies grow their existing businesses and successfully build new lines of business.

About SciQuest

SciQuest (NASDAQ:SQI) is the largest publicly held pure-play provider of cloud-based business automation solutions for spend management – offering deep domain knowledge and a leading, customer-driven portfolio. SciQuest solutions enable greater visibility and compliance organization-wide to help you gain control, optimize efficiencies and reduce spend. These cloud-based solutions are easy to implement and proven to deliver measurable, sustainable value with SciQuest’s high-touch support, analysis and automation. Learn more about our solutions and how we can help your organization turn spending into savings at

To join the conversation, please visit our blog, The Open Kitchen at – or follow us on Twitter @SciQuest.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Any statements in this release that are not historical or current facts are forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Certain of these risks are discussed in “Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors” and elsewhere in SciQuest’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports, as filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The company’s SEC reports are available free of charge on the SEC’s website at or on the company’s website at These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and SciQuest undertakes no obligation to update, amend or clarify any forward-looking statement for any reason. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results.


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