Top 10 Procurement Automation Software Tools in 2023
The procurement process is a vital part of any organization. From purchasing goods and raw materials to managing services and subscriptions, procurement is integral for operating. But as businesses scale, so too does the complexity of managing the procurement process.
Procurement software tools are designed to help with this process by organizing, managing, and most importantly, automating these tasks in one central location. Here are just a few of the results procurement software can help you achieve:
- Streamline purchasing workflows
- Manage vendor relationships
- Track costs
- Communicate with suppliers
- Generate reports and analytics
It is important to mention that a procurement management system is different than enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. ERP software brings automation and insights to internal business processes such as finance, human resources, and supply chain management. A procurement management system focuses on tasks like vendor communications, purchase order automation, and contract management.
What is procurement automation?
Supply chain and procurement specialists are already tasked with managing a massive volume of information. As businesses scale up, even the most seasoned professionals can find themselves feeling overwhelmed. There are repetitive tasks that require lots of context switching, endless piles of documents that must be scanned through to extract relevant details, and communications with a wide variety of suppliers that must be maintained and monitored. This cumbersome workload will inevitably lead to fatigue and errors.
An automated procurement process is the solution to this problem. Many of the workflows mentioned above are tasks that are ripe for automation. Below are just a few examples:
- Purchase Order Management: Automatically collect, sort, and manage your purchase orders in a central location. You can keep track of when orders were placed, expected delivery dates, and purchase order histories
- Purchase Requisition: Automate the flow of approvals for purchase requisitions through your company’s hierarchy. Smart alerts can send reminders to necessary approvers.
- Spend Analytics: Generate reports and data regarding procurement costs. See where costs are not fully optimized in your procurement process.
There are numerous benefits to automation. When done intentionally and with care, you can expect better accuracy, reduced risks, faster processing times, and optimized costs.
Choosing the Right Procurement Automation Software
Looking for the right procurement automation solution may seem daunting at first glance, but we will break down some of the key things to look for when choosing one.
- Sourcing: Your software should make the process of sourcing products as streamlined as possible. Communications, negotiations, and contracting should all be encapsulated in the functionality of your chosen solution.
- Integrations: With a number of other enterprise software products already incorporated into your company’s workflows, it’s key that any solution for automation in procurement should integrate with your preexisting solutions.
- Industry-specific features: Every industry has its unique quirks. A procurement automation tool that works well for a retail company might lack critical functionality for a manufacturing company. Look for features relevant to your use cases.
- Scalability: Your procurement needs will scale with your business. While self-hosted tools will require more internal resources, cloud-based solutions could become costly or slow with an increase in procurement needs.
- Customer support: Many procurement tools are highly complex and customizable software packages. Something will inevitably break or else a feature will not be fully understood by your end users. Look for stellar support from the software vendor.
- Templates: Procurement requires a mountain of paperwork. A good tool should assist you in generating document templates, contract clauses, and vendor communications to save time and reduce errors.
Below we will show you the ten best procurement automation software tools on the market today. Of course, no discussion around automation would be complete without mentioning AI so we will be paying special attention to tools that have already incorporated AI into their products. But we will also mention a few more traditional approaches to procurement automation software.
Top 10 Procurement Automation Software Tools in 2023
Uify is an AI-powered assistant that supercharges your email workflows and offers powerful capabilities to streamline your procurement processes.
Uify’s AI assistant sits in a side panel next to your inbox and has the ability to interact with the rest of your systems in the background. The AI assistant can extract data from emails and attachments, update your ERP system through Uify’s extensive integration capabilities, and generate email responses to vendors. It automates the manual data entry tasks, significantly speeding up your team while leaving them in control of the data flow to your ERP.
Contrary to extensive end-to-end software solutions, Uify offers a straightforward, cost-effective approach to procurement automation. While not a comprehensive solution, it efficiently addresses the majority of manual data entry challenges, allowing your team to focus on more strategic tasks.
Icertis is a contract management software that expands on traditional contract life cycle management. With the help of AI, Icertis transforms information that would normally be hidden away in the text of your contracts into valuable insights using interactive, living documents.
Icertis structures and connects the relevant data from your contracts to streamline, standardize, and most importantly automate your procurement processes. Additionally, Icertis offers integrations with your existing enterprise software suite like SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce.
Icertis has a high level of customization for unique business needs. However, the learning curve can be steep for someone unfamiliar with an advanced contract management system.
Icertis sees the value in using AI for procurement automation and offers a range of AI tools. Generative AI trained on thousands of contract types and templates assists with contract and document creation. Their Discover AI finds and matches contract clause types with your business language. And their Negotiate AI delivers insights to supercharge negotiation.
Jaggaer is a cloud-based platform that serves to connect buyers, sellers, and other procurement stakeholders in their cloud. With a global footprint in many major markets, Jaggaer has a bounty and breadth of experience that allows their product to be tailored to fit your procurement automation needs
Jaggaer offers a modular platform with individual components like spend analytics, supplier management, e-procurement, and more. You can find everything you need to tailor their platform to your industry-specific needs. Jaggar claims to reduce process costs by 80% and error rate by 75%.
Jaggaer’s dashboards are simple and easy for end-users to grasp out of the box. However, some users have mentioned security concerns and bouts of slowness due to their cloud architecture.
Jaggaer’s contract AI serves you in managing your procurement contracts. It automatically extracts relevant data from your contracts, compares phrasing and variance, and generates insights into contracting data.
Coupa is a platform for consolidating source-to-pay processes by offering a central location for managing vendors, invoices, and business payments. Coupa is specifically designed with businesses of different sizes in mind.
Coupa automates requests, invoicing, and approval in its centralized system. It also uses its vast quantity of anonymized spend data to create insights on efficiency, risk, and profitability.
Coupa is known for its ease of integration with your ERP systems and simplicity around managing permissions. Some users have noted delays with customer support requests.
Coupa uses its own community.ai tool to support all its users by comparing their anonymized procurement data. Community.ai uses this information to deliver pricing insights, supplier insights, and procurement recommendations.
GEP SMART is a cloud-based procurement tool to manage direct and indirect spend. GEP SMART unifies all the functionality you need for procurement into its platform to reduce reliance on a set of disparate software tools.
GEP SMART’s user experience makes digitalizing your procurement process simple. It also offers excellent integrations into other ERP and back-end tools. The ability to set up approval procedures will help speed along your company’s road to procurement automation.
Users note that GEP SMART’s cloud architecture allows it to scale fast to your business needs. However, they also point out that it could benefit from more customization.
GEP SMART promises to be an AI-first technology and squeeze every advantage that AI can offer its procurement solutions. GEP SMART already uses AI for automating sourcing, supplier management, and contract management.
Kissflow is a cloud-based procurement solution. With a simple interface and a wide breadth of feature customization, Kissflow aims to make your procurement cycles simpler.
Kissflow provides automated checks for invoices and smart alerts to make sure approval deadlines are met, all cross-referenced with data from your contracts. Its analytics are designed to drive action from purchasing data insights. Kissflow can also integrate into a variety of finance systems like Quickbooks, Zero, Sap, and more.
Users note that Kissflow’s UI is simple and friendly, leading to ease of adoption in your organization. However, a lack of support and clarity on leveraging Kissflow’s full functionality is also mentioned.
SpendHQ provides you with a spend analytics solution that helps get fast and detailed insights into messy piles of spend data. Spendhq helps quickly identify potential savings opportunities and cuts down on wasteful spending.
Spendhq is a tool for experts by experts. They have a unique data classification system that allows you to structure your procurement in a more organized way. Additionally, they offer more than thirty integrations and connectors to leverage data from all of your business software.
Users note that while Spendhq's expertly created system can benefit seasoned professionals the most, less experienced users may find the software overwhelming or overly complex.
Precoro is a fully customizable procurement software for speeding up your workflows. Through centralizing purchasing processing, Precoro aims to reduce time spent on manual tasks and human errors.
Precoro promises 80% less manual data entry, a 2.5 times speed increase in the approval workflow, and a 38% reduction in the purchase cycle length. In the platform, requests are easy to make and you can track their progress in real-time.
Precoro offers a highly transparent pricing plan and a high level of customer support. Some users report feeling overwhelmed by the sheer level of customization possibilities.
Procurify is a procure-to-pay software platform solution that offers real-time oversight of business spend. Procurify aims to maximize transparency and accountability in your organization's procurement process.
Procurify helps you build effective approval workflows that adhere to your internal policies using external audit functions. A centralized messaging system allows you to reduce workflow errors and speed up procurement cycles. Procurify also offers integrations with ERP systems to ensure maximum efficiency.
Procurify offers a mobile app version of their product, so the procurement process can be managed from anywhere. Some users report frustration when trying to edit orders that have already been approved.
Vendr is a software platform that helps you automate and consolidate your procurement workflow. They have a particular focus on facilitating the SaaS procurement process.
Vendr helps you consolidate your spending information on your various software solutions in one place and can point out where products have overlapping or redundant functionality. They provide a number of integrations with ERP and accounting tools as well as SSO authorization. Vendr provides particular support in negotiating your SaaS contracts.
Vendr is excellent if you need to negotiate contracts for many different SaaS products, allowing you to save time and money. Some users report that Vendr isn’t as robust at extracting data from contracts or other procurement documents.
AI in Procurement Automation
AI is already revolutionizing the procurement process. For automation in procurement, AI is the supercharger. When implemented with care, AI can reduce costs and human error, leaving you more time to work on real business problems rather than tedious tasks. For example:
- Machine learning models can use your existing data to generate predictive analytics and forecast procurement needs.
- LLMs can extract unstructured information from messages related to POs and use them to update your ERP system.
- Generative AI can quickly draft template messages for suppliers, filling in relevant details from contextual information.
- And much, much more
A Use Case with Uify
To give you an example of just how powerful AI in procurement can be, we will outline a scenario below where Uify’s AI assistant could streamline a procurement workflow.
A vendor reaches out to say that more units must be purchased to meet the minimum requirement and that a new order receipt date should be expected. Typically this would require a user to switch between the inbox and ERP system, then craft a response to the vendor themself – a tedious and error-prone process. Here is how this process can be automated with Uify:
- The vendor sends a message regarding the purchase order. Two fields in the order require updating for the purchase order to go through.
- Uify’s assistant automatically pulls up the order details from the internal ERP system using the browser’s side panel.
- Uify’s assistant highlights the fields that should be updated to reflect the new information in the purchase order.
- Uify’s assistant proposes changes in the ERP system that match the information in the message. These changes can be accepted with a single click or the data can be edited if needed before triggering an API call to the ERP.
- Uify’s assistant now generates a quick draft response to the vendor to confirm the update was received and the purchase order was updated in the ERP.
You can also watch the demonstration here.
If you’d like to try Uify yourself, get in touch with our team and we’ll assist you in automating your procurement workflows. Book your free demo here.