A comprehensive study reported in the article assessing critical functional and non functional requirements for web-based procurement systems shows the importance of the relationship between functioning and non functioning web based procurement systems. The findings below were accessed by using a questionnaire. The findings show no significant difference between early and late participants, the base group reflects a large population of corporate buyers.
The graph can help technology managers developing a business to business procurement system. This graph shows web systems rate high on usability and on the identification function. Users also see a reduction in search costs. The down side of the study shows that consumers rate web systems low on reliability, security and post sale follow-up. A technology manager can use this information to create a better procurement system to improve what is perceived as lacking by the consumer.
Incorporating new technologies like 3D modeling and 3D video into a business’s procurement system has improved the identification and selection processes. Companies including Land’s End, Lane Bryant, and Glamor all use virtual model technology. The My Virtual Model helps shoppers input their personal information into a database and they receive a 3D model image which they can use throughout the website. They can try on clothes and accessories and compare them from the comforts of their own home. Currently there are more than 5 million registered models. This technology is used in business to business e-commerce activities. A business can develop their item/product and compare how that product interacts with the other products vendors are offering. Seeing a 3d model of a product can make it easy to compare the product to what they are currently using and this can aid in the decision process. One important tool in the 3D model is the zoom tool this is a key effect that shows first hand, close-up detail of the product. This is a very costly system that many companies simply cannot initially afford. Faster download times and improved navigation are making this easier to market. Many companies are interested in the basic tools and steer away from the “extra features”.
3D video tours are another important topic to be considered. Most hotel sites, cruise lines and many university campuses use this application to aid the consumer in visualizing their environment. This is becoming a standard in the selection phase of hotel comparisons. By offering a 3D video tour hotels can show of their best features while the consumer sits back and watches in the comfort of their own home. This can also work for businesses trying to offer new products into the procurement process. The business can use video streaming to show quality control, as well as, the overall operation of the company. This is a good way to get a foot in the door while consumers compare products offered on the internet.
A technology manager’s job will always change while he absorbs new technologies available. One of the biggest obstacles is trying to entice your target consumer to use your site. An example of this can be found in an article from Design Tips magazine in May 2008. The article focuses on teenagers and online shopping. Even though they don’t have their own credit cards they still shop online. Teenagers are more plugged in to the net than we realize. As a technology manager you must try to keep the interest of the teen consumers to your website. Teenagers are attracted to sites that are hip looking and offer cutting edge graphics, but in the end they want things done.