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Smart, safe, self-service procurement

As organizations transition to a completely remote work environment, here’s how they’re balancing ease and efficiency with control.

As many organizations transition to a completely remote work environment, purchasing teams face new challenges. How can we get remote work supplies to the right employees? Do employees have access to what they need to be effective from home? How can I gain visibility when I am not in the same place as my buyers? Do we have the right digital tools to replace manual processes?


Purchasing leaders are prioritizing operations—particularly around driving spend control and compliance—and they’re looking for tools and insights to help them do so. At the same time, B2B buyers often expect that their shopping and purchasing experience will mirror what they have in their personal lives. Cumbersome control and compliance tools will make for a poor employee experience.


The good news is that employees, both end-users and procurement professionals, are generally trying to do the right thing for their employers by purchasing within organizational constructs. The right solutions can help keep your teams connected and your organization operating smoothly in this changing work environment.




While managing compliance to company spending policies can be time consuming, intelligent technologies help to simplify that process. Technology can help enable a shift from enforcement to empowerment.


Three key priorities emerge as we think about smart applications or tools and the opportunity they provide purchasing functions:

  1. Automation to make time for more strategic projects
  2. Self-service tools that can better control spend—meeting your buyer demands while providing visibility and transparency to your business to manage and control risk
  3. New data and insights that allow leaders to make sound recommendations and demonstrate value to stakeholders


Smart tools can replace manual approvals that are even more cumbersome with a remote workforce. Digital solutions make it easier for employees to purchase company preferred products while affording management less time evaluating purchases and enforcing rules.




Many organizations restrict what, where, and from whom employees may purchase. How do procurement and supply chain leaders track adherence to purchasing policies, while making it easy for shoppers to get what they need?


In short, take advantage Amazon Business’ spend control features. Doing so will move your procurement program from enforcement to empowerment. An administrator in an Amazon Business account can help customers outline the organization’s purchasing policies, approval workflows, and other business rules to ensure that important guardrails are in place. The end-users are then able to find what they need within the familiar Amazon shopping experience without wading through excessive constraints.


With Amazon Business’s Guided Buying, managers can turn procurement policies into easy-to-follow visual signposts directly in the shopping experience: signposts steer employees away from restricted product categories to products or specific suppliers that management approves. Notifications appear on relevant product detail pages and in search results that can include custom messages or show alternative product options when available.




Purchasing and finance departments typically prioritize savings and policy compliance—cost considerations—over convenience or ease of ordering and delivery, or value considerations. Yet we know that the best organizations are customer-obsessed (customer obsession is one of our Amazon Leadership Principles).


The fix: empower employees to buy as quickly and easily as possible to get back to serving their customers. Empowered, enabled employees are more productive and deliver better customer experiences.


Amazon Business focuses on expanding selection, adding convenience, and offering low prices, all leading to a better customer experience for both end users and procurement professionals. By driving simplicity across the buying experience, we help people and teams work smarter and better, freeing them to focus on what matters most.


So, consider how your teams are purchasing in 2020. Are they enabled with the convenience they now expect, particularly in changing work environments? Are they empowered to purchase what they need? Internal stakeholders demand a purchasing environment like what they have with Amazon at home, but built for work. Yet, employee expectations for simplification and speed don’t have to mean a tradeoff for the visibility and control procurement leaders need to meet the financial demands and expectations of their organization.


To learn more, hear Duncan Jones, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Forrester and Scott Dewicki, Principal Solution Consultant, Amazon Business discuss this topic further in our webinar “Enabling smart, safe, self-service procurement” available on-demand.

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