It's admittedly odd to think that we, a company that was initially conceived to address the myriad challenges with IT RFPs, has a customer roster where roughly half don't run sourcing events at all. To be clear, we think implementing robust sourcing practices is critically important for every procurement department and every organization. And we continue to invest in those parts of our product. However, what we clearly didn't realize when we started Vendorful was just how cumbersome ERPs are. Indeed, it is largely frustration with ERPs that is driving the growth the of our Vendor Management module.
Here are some of the highlights from last month's product updates:
Bulk Set Stakeholders
Vendorful leverages the concept of a stakeholder in various contexts. In an RFP, it's a participant in the sourcing event. When collecting data for Supplier Scorecards, it's a survey respondent. When considering Vendor Management, stakeholders are the users who are attached to the vendor record in some way. These stakeholders can have different responsibilities and therefore different permissions, but they are somehow connected to the vendor.
Previously, stakeholders were added on a vendor-by-vendor basis. While this was totally reasonable with a few hundred vendors, it became challenging with scale. Building on the "bulk actions" foundation that had developed for messaging, we've released a feature that allows a user to filter on any number of criteria, select any of or all the vendors who meet those criteria, and assign stakeholders (and their permissions) to them. So rather than doing one at a time, you can do tens, hundreds, or even thousands at once. And since the UI simply involves an additional action, there's no learning curve.
After you select the vendors, you can add the desired stakeholders and set the appropriate permissions for them.
Vendor Attribute Enhancements
We made a couple improvements to vendor attributes in terms of both configuration and filtering. On the configuration side, there are two new features.
First, we added some additional functionality for selection-type attributes. These are fields where the user can select from a list of pre-determined options. When a customer had 50+ options, the user experience became unwieldy. So now have autocomplete functionality so a user simply needs to type the first few letters and will be able to find the right option. This works with both single-select and multi-select attributes.
Second, we now give our customers the ability to configure default values for attributes. An example might be for "Preferred Supplier Status." Rather than leaving it blank, an organization could set it to FALSE and then change it if and when appropriate.
Finally, on the filtering side, the application now "remembers" all the filters that were set on the vendor list page. This way, if you are tasked with managing a certain subset of vendors, or vendors that meet specific criteria, your pre-configured filter list will just show up rather than requiring you to set it up anew each time.
Live View Progress
We continue to overhaul our RFP response experience with Live Views. The challenge is that there's a lot of refactoring to do and we need to get it all done before we can roll it out. It's not something that lends itself to "a bit of one paradigm and a bit of the other."
But in addition to plugging away at that, our team has been introducing Live View functionality in other parts of the application. Last month, we rolled this out for Attribute Validation. There were no changes to the user interfaces so this change was invisible to our customers. That said, we have much more efficient, testable, and maintainable code.
Want to check out these new features in action? Sign up for a Vendorful demo.