Rocky Mountain e-Procurement

Colorado, Utah implement shared electronic purchasing system

Reston, VA  August 2, 2001  State government agencies in Colorado and Utah have begun piloting a shared electronic procurement system from NIC Commerce, the first successful system implementation for which two states conducted a dual solicitation, review and contract award to share a single e-procurement solution, according to an announcement today from the software provider.

The pilot phase will support five agencies and 30 vendors in each state. During the pilot, state procurement officials and users will conduct their procurement business through the system and execute user-acceptance testing. Upon successful completion of the pilot, the system will launch across all state agencies in Colorado and Utah and will also be available for local governments, municipalities, public education institutions and political subdivisions in both states.

The full system will offer products and services from over 900 suppliers for direct and indirect procurement needs in Colorado and Utah. The initial production period for the system will be five years, with a five-year renewal option. The contract includes a provision that allows other states to integrate their e-procurement needs into the Colorado-Utah solution.

Richard Pennington, Colorado's state purchasing director, predicted that the implementation would provide time and cost savings by enabling online purchasing. "This e-procurement initiative will deliver tremendous efficiency throughout the state of Colorado," he said.

Pennington's counterpart, Douglas Richins, director of purchasing for Utah, said the project highlighted his state's commitment to taking advantage of new technologies. "Utah has been delivering progressive technology for years, and this interstate project with our colleagues in Colorado is yet another demonstration of Utah's commitment to digital government."

NIC Commerce says it launched the solution in less than three months. The system includes dynamic workflow, supplier community support, legacy systems integration, interoperability with existing financial infrastructures and integration of existing state price agreements and state contracts. A 1 percent transaction fee paid by participating vendors will support the ongoing development and maintenance of the Colorado-Utah e-procurement system.

The solution provider is stressing the supplier-oriented tools built into the system, such as catalog loading and supplier support. Commenting on this aspect of the system, Donna Broome, vice president of government sales for maintenance, repair and operations supplier W.W. Grainger, said, "NIC Commerce realizes that user adoption by both state buyers and vendors is one of the keys to the success of any system, and they are making every effort to incorporate the business needs of the vendor community into the functionality of the Colorado-Utah solution."

NIC Commerce, the e-procurement subsidiary of NIC, said it was awarded the contract over eight competitive bids that included Ariba and Commerce One solutions.