May 19, 2020

Making business sense with e-procurement

business sense
e-procurement in corporate
e-procurement in government
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Making business sense with e-procurement


Globally, successful implementations of e-procurement are considered as one of the measures of a world-class purchasing organisation.


Evolution and growth

The acceptance of e-procurement, especially in Africa, has been a bit patchy since its inception in the 1990s where it was launched as a method of conducting simple purchasing transactions over the Internet. It has nonetheless evolved into a complex marketplace with many players offering a variety of services from catalogue maintenance and hosting to managing tenders and auctions on behalf of clients.

Externally hosted e-procurement services are clearly a growing trend. Some specialise, like those serving the pharmaceutical and mining industries, which have embraced e-procurement well, and with a good deal of success in creating slicker supply chains.

The majority of transactions are affected through third-party service providers such as Quadrem Africa, a global supply chain solutions company with supplier networks for both the private and public sectors. They have a specialist platform to securely manage the full range of services including sourcing and e-auctions on behalf of clients such as Bhp Billiton and Anglo Base Metals and Anglo American. Quadrem Africa issues more than two million request for quotations (RFQs) and processes more than 500,000 transactions per annum resulting in a $4 billion annual trade.


E-procurement Usage

In corporate

PetroSA, the Africa-based oil and gas company, recently outsourced its procurement to Intenda. The company says that its new system reduces and eliminates tedious manual work associated with completing and submitting tenders. Its entire system has migrated from a manual to a fully electronic one leading to the purchasing of all equipment, supplies and services to be conducted via the Internet. Without doubt, technology has speeded up its transactional procurement, placement and tracking of orders besides reducing administration time and effort as well as leading to shorter payment cycles.

However, despite worldwide enthusiasm for the Internet, there are additional financial costs from more computers to extra phone lines to the cost of training and skills development. Many companies admit to not being able to measure the return on investment. High volume/low value items are well suited to e-procurement, complex services contracts in facilities management and financial consulting, less so.

In government
E-procurement also has the potential to improve efficiencies in government administration. The World Bank noted last year that there was progress in the adoption of e-procurement in Kenya and Tanzania and that Ghana and Rwanda had plans to implement it under the umbrella of public procurement reform programmes.

However, the World Bank identified key challenges such as how to sell the agenda to government due to a lack of awareness of the benefits that e-procurement can provide. Its research found some reluctance in adopting a system that is fully transparent. It therefore outlined certain basic requirements that needed be fulfilled before an e-procurement system could achieve maximum potential in government. These recommendations included ICT services to be expanded; guaranteeing of secure online environment; development of standards and processes; and most importantly, for purchasers to be trained.

A study was recently completed to establish the extent of the use of e-procurement in the United Nations in the Africa region. Researchers found that e-procurement was being used in the UN for transactions of routine, non-strategic purchases and that UN development agencies were more likely to adopt e-procurement than humanitarian aid agencies due to their operations being more predictable.

E-procurement allows aid-funded buyers to compare quickly, easily and cheaply prices, specifications and delivery dates from suppliers worldwide. Savings of up to 10% have been achieved with there being some evidence available showing savings in processing time, and time is money.



There are many advantages to e-procurement, especially in giving companies from developing countries an equal chance to pitch for global business. Some research recently completed in Hong Kong has some findings that could be useful in the African context. It appears that 79 percent of the companies surveyed have not yet implemented e-procurement. China is helping in the development of web-enabled solutions in the region, particularly in the Republic of Congo, in exchange for some natural resources. Despite the challenges the future for e-procurement looks bright.

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Jun 12, 2021

Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey

Roger Beadle, Co-founder & CEO...
6 min
Roger Beadle, CEO of Limitless looks at how CX can directly Influence revenue generation in streaming services

There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.

There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.

There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.

In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.

Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.

So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?

Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney

While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.

For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.

For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.

Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.

It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.

How do companies support the new customer journey?

More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.

These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.

The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?

For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.

It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.

And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.

It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.

At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.

About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.

About Limitless
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.

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