E-procurement specialist TomorrowFirst has launched itself into the channel by announcing partnerships with integrator Unisys and e-procurement software vendor Biomni.
Describing itself as midway between an application service provider and personal buyer, the company claims to be the first e-procurement firm to host purchasing software on its own website. David Orchard, chief technology officer at TomorrowFirst, said the company was targeting businesses with a turnover of £200m and more.
"There are a lot of e-procurement solutions available, but they're only really viable to companies with returns in billions. Our objective is to encourage wider adoption of e-procurement," he said.
E-procurement allows a customers to click an icon on the computer screen, search through catalogues, submit purchase orders for approval and send them to the supplier. TomorrowFirst hosts the software provided by Biomni, feeds the information through to the client's back-office system, and acts for the client when negotiating with suppliers.
Angus Gregory, chief executive of Biomni, said: "We provide the infrastructure and services around the system. TomorrowFirst plugs the gap. They take the problems of purchasing out of the clients' hands. We do the technology, it does the business. It is complementary to our product."
Orchard pointed out that vendors are trying to go direct, and this will be a hurdle for any intermediary to overcome. "It's going to be a challenge for resellers," he said. "Companies want to go through a single system for indirect purchasing, and larger ones want control. Resellers should consider being a support for e-procurement services."
TomorrowFirst is hoping to build individual relationships with computer resellers, added Orchard. "In the computing area, people are more and more likely to want more than a box," he said. "They want value-added services, and vendors can't do that without setting up a reseller network."
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