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The service team advises you from project planning to rollout.

What are the benefits of eProcurement?

The key reasons for the introduction of an electronic procurement solution are:

  • Reduction of the process times thanks to increased transparency as well as simple tender evaluation and ordering
  • Reduction of the process times thanks to direct customer ordering in the relevant quantity
  • Reduction of purchasing and administrative costs thanks to standardisation
  •  Relief from the purchase of operative activities in favour of strategic, value-adding purchasing
  •  Supplier bundling at one surface
  • Optimising the purchasing conditions thanks to, amongst other things, volume bundling
  • Management information statistics for the purpose of decision optimising
  • optimal basis for cost centre or branch office comparisons
  •  Flexibility compared to logistical optimisations / changes
  • Reduction of loss of material / inventory differences
  • Warehousing minimising
  • refinancing thanks to listing fees, as appropriate

What are the benefits of eSourcing?

The key reasons for the introduction of an electronic sourcing solution are:

  • short and convenient communication channels thanks to internet use
  • far more transparency in the purchasing process thanks to platform centrality
  • all purchasing processes are viewable online at any time
  • all enquiries/information/changes are simultaneously transmitted to all providers
  • extensions (re-negotiations) are possible at short notice
  • tender evaluation is more transparent and more comparable thanks to standard representation
  • preview option on the part of the bidder in the preview phase
  • Overview of the data traffic
  • Overview of the auction/tender history
  • Overview of the email traffic on an auction/tender/bidder
  • statistical evaluation in printable version
  • access/participation possible at any time with the mobile variant even without internet access
  • no media discontinuity thanks to ERP system connection option
  • no media discontinuity thanks to CM Procure connection option

What does the project life cycle look like?

Based on our extensive experience, we propose an integrated process concept to our clients for executing the planned project.
The recommended project methodology with the corresponding techniques is described in this section in overview form.  This is followed by the description of the project phases with the corresponding activities proposed by ePhilos to its clients for the project management.

The process model divides the project into the following phases

1. project initialisation,
2. business blueprint,
3. realisation,
4. production preparation and
5. go-live & support.

Following the "project initialisation", which includes detailed planning, technical requirements planning and project kick-off, in the "business blueprint" phase the project work focuses on the definition of the business process requirements.
The "realisation" phase implements these requirements on a successive basis by customising the system and by development work, and concludes with a comprehensive integration test.
The "production preparation" phase consists of carrying out application tests using test or genine data, detailing the launch planning as well as (in parallel) training the end users in the subsequent production start-up of the system. The "go-live & support" phase supports the aftercare of the production system.

The graphic shows the project phases in overview form.

Thanks to the integrated process concept, all of the key aspects will be included, the project-specific dependencies taken into account, the points included adequately addressed and the results and recommendations coordinated at an early stage.

Coordinating processes within the project phases will ensure that the client will be able to control and influence the course of the project at any time. Individual procedures will be advanced in parallel, insofar as they are not interdependent, in order to prevent time being wasted due to superfluous buffer periods. In this regard, the procedures will typically be the preparation of data migration (e.g. installing and setting up the migration environment) and integration work.
The following text describes the five project phases from an activity-oriented perspective.


Phase 1: Project initialisation

A successful project is based on comprehensive planning and preparation.

Particularly important here is the definition of the project objectives, the detailed scope of the project as well as the launch strategy. The following tasks should be taken into account:

Creating a project plan

  • checking and detailing the launch strategy
  • determining the project structure
  • preparing the project kick-off

Planning the technical requirements

  • determining the technical requirements

Defining the project process

  • defining standards and procedures for project management
  • defining launch standards and sequences
  • defining a strategy for the system landscape

Creating a training plan

  • conducting project team training
  • determining the strategy for user training and documentation

Quality management - project preparation

  • conducting internal quality inspections
  • project preparation review

Phase 2: Business blueprint

Phase 2 actvities consist of producing a detailed technological concept, designing individual requirements as part of a prototype test environment, creating the detail concept and revising the project plan.

Business process concept

Here the business processes (incl. the necessary interfaces) are developed in detail  as 'to be' processes.
The CM standard processes form the basis for customised developments.

Phase 3: Realisation

The goal of the realisation phase is using customisation and development to adapt the test system to the requirements of the production processes.

In addition, the production is prepared by installing the production system – if necessary with a transition into the client's IT environment – and creating the going-live plan.

All other planned consumption centres as well as further suppliers (on a successive basis) are linked up within the going-live process. Any customising adjustments to be made will be undertaken within the framework of the ongoing system maintenance.

Customizing the business processes

The business processes were developed in detail in the "business blueprint" phase, and undergo in this phase implementation customising.

  • implementing the detailed concept by means of customising
  • individual tests with the key users
  • documenting the system settings

Integrations test

Testing all business processes and interfaces with available live data (alternatively with test data). 

  • supporting the population of master data
  • coordinating production approval
  • developing test cases

Phase 4: Production preparation

The goal of the activities in phase 4 is the transporting of the developed system (together with associated interfaces) into production.

  • carrying over all system settings into the production system
  • quality control
  • manual customising of non-transportable system settings

Phase 5: Go-Live and support

Phase 5 consists of checking the system performance transfer into the production system and approving the system for use.

The support services enable the system to be further optimised and monitored as part of the general system management.

  • supporting production operations in the first days after going live
  • collating problems and correcting any errors

ePhilos provides system maintenance to accompany production operation as part of maintenance contracts either of fixed period or based on per-call costs.

What are the measures associated with quality assurance?

The quality assurance measures associated with implementing a project are divided into technical and organisational measures.

Technical measures

The software development is supported by a Concurrent Versions System (CVS, a program designed to coordinate the work of individual developers in a project and perform source code version management).

A test environment is implemented, with production data (or alternatively test data), as appropriate, based on existing ComfortMarket installations.

Error recording is undertaken by means of a web-based error recording tool (Mantis). The involvement of Nehlsen personnel is possible at any time during the process.

Measuring and debugging methods

Time measurement techniques for determining method run times. For this purpose, we make use of a separate debugging class with the following functions: 

  • Time measurement at definable breakpoints to determine method run times
  • Outputting error messages from the database, the development language, or own defined error messages
  • Outputting variables at definable breakpoints
  • Query analysis (use of keys, auxiliary tables, etc.) for run-time optimisation

Function tests with various roles and test competence, resp. (e.g. programmer testing, user testing - from DAU (worst case user) to experienced user).

Organisational measures

Test users of differing testing intensity are defined (see above) when planning test scenarios, test methods, test analyses, troubleshooting cycles. By the use of a test environment prepared in good time and including the subsequent users, test runs can be conducted at an early stage to ensure the timely taking of countermeasures, if necessary. The business transactions to be tested are determined (including the required scenarios), prioritised and tested.

We differentiate between dynamic quality assurance (testing) and static quality assurance (interim results checking without software execution). The testing methods consist of: White Box Test, Black Box Test, intuitive test case definition, function tests (test cases are created using the functions specified) and random tests (no deterministic strategy when selecting test data).

What kinds of training do you offer?

In general, CM is constructed in such a user-friendly and self-explanatory manner that training for the client's employees is not absolutely necessary.  We recommend one day of training for admins or key users.

ePhilos provides three kinds of training (on request)

  • training for multiplicators (train the trainer)
  • training for system administrators / key users
  • training for procurement users and orderers

Multiplicator training

For the client's multiplicators the training takes place shortly before the system goes live. Multiplicator training includes the general operation of the CM product family and instruction in the functions relevant for the user.  The exercises relate to practical procurement, tender and auction processes.

Objective: As part of inhouse-training, the multiplicators can themselves conduct the training of the employees involved in the future in the interests of reducing costs.

Those participating in the training should possess previous knowledge of using PCs under Windows, including basic Ms-Office.  

Administrator / key user training

Some of the administration processes may be more cost-effectively and more quickly performed on-site by the client's own employees.  An administrator, defined by the client, should act as the main contact partner for all questions concerning maintenance and operation, including user support. Individual training will be put together for the client's administrators to be able to fulfil the requirements. This training can ensure support of on-site system maintenance, e.g. for CM product family updates, support packages, etc. as well as setting up and modifying user rights.

Training concept for users of operational services

The contractor will produce a training concept for these users as an optional service. This training concept will take the participants' relevant state of knowledge into account. The training will be conducted as in-house training. The prerequisite for this purpose is the provisioning of the infrastructure required for the training on the part of the client. 

To ensure not only that the training but also the transfer of the results obtained to the live system will run smoothly, the training will be conducted on the test system.