In many cases, when companies need software to help improve their processes and drive efficiency, they look to see if Microsoft has the solution for their specific problem. After all, the company transformed modern business when it released the Microsoft Office suite in 1990. Today, more than 90 percent of businesses provide Office to their users.
Because of the quality of products that Microsoft makes, many organizations choose to deploy the company’s other products when they are looking for additional solutions. For example, businesses that have enjoyed their experience with Office might decide to deploy SharePoint as a purchase order system. They’re already used to Microsoft’s products, after all. And because SharePoint integrates with Office, many decision-makers think it’s a no-brainer.
There are a number of reasons why that is not the best option for most organizations. Here are six of them:
SharePoint is primarily a document management system. First things first: While it’s possible to use SharePoint as a purchase order system, the software wasn’t designed to be used that way. It’s primarily marketed as a document management system that doubles as a storage system. While it’s possible to use something like Microsoft Paint to make graphics, for example, you’re probably going to use something like Adobe’s Photoshop or Illustrator. Similarly, you probably want to look for a system that was designed specifically to handle purchase orders instead.
It was designed to be used by companies that are enormous. SharePoint was designed to be used by large organizations. While many large enterprises generally keep quiet about what software solutions they use, a number of Fortune 500 companies—like Citibank, Procter & Gamble, and Chrysler—have made it known that they rely on SharePoint for functions like internal training tools, e-commerce storefronts, or document management systems but not specifically for their procurement processes. By some estimates, however, it can take as long as five years before a large company can successfully roll out the software solution.
SharePoint is rather hard to customize. Unlike many Microsoft products, SharePoint was never envisioned to be a one-size-fits-all solution. To this end, the platform is customizable. There’s only one problem: It’s very difficult to configure the software in a way that works best for each individual company.
When you do customize it, new updates from Microsoft can render those customizations obsolete. Even after your engineers have put in a lot of time building helpful customizations for your organization, new updates rolled out by Microsoft can stop those customizations from working. To ensure that your SharePoint solution remains working as you need it to work, you need to keep an eye on all updates that come down the pike—and design solutions to keep everything working as intended.
It’s difficult to find information on SharePoint. Thanks to modern laptops and search engines, the average worker knows how easy it should be to find the information that he or she is looking for online. Unfortunately, that expectation usually doesn’t transfer over to SharePoint. Users are likelier to become very frustrated when they are unable to find the documents and files they’re trying to find—which doesn’t exactly help productivity or employee happiness.
The solution is very IT-intensive, too. Not only is SharePoint hard to set up and configure for a purchase order system that meets your organization’s specific needs, but it also is hard for many end users to navigate. Not only will your IT team have to spend a lot of time customizing SharePoint and will have to stay on top of the updates that roll out from Microsoft headquarters, but it will also need to train your workers to make sure they know their way around the software.
The good news is that there are tailored solutions built specifically for purchase orders and procurement. Instead of rolling the dice on a solution like SharePoint that’s proven to be quite difficult to use as a purchase order system, your company would be much wiser to invest in a solution designed specifically to handle purchase orders and help make procurement easier. As a result, you’ll be able to reduce your purchasing expenditures while building more efficiency into your procurement process. What’s not to like?
Learn how to make procurement easier with our guide to Solving Spend Management