Services procurement software maker Elance Inc. will announce next week its first offering for the enterprise -- a suite of applications that allows companies to electronically procure services at either a contract or project level.
Elance 3.0 consists of four modules that automate the planning, sourcing, payments, vendor maintenance and reporting that accompanies professional services procurement and management, according to officials.
The first module is a dashboard that enables companies to examine procurement budgets and track spending.
The second and third modules consist of workflow automation for project-based and contract-based services. These modules allow a business manager to create requirements documents for procuring specific services, route approvals, receive alerts and submit bid invitations to vendors. There is also an online contract negotiation capability.
Once a vendor is selected, a workflow engine tracks the progress of that contract.
The fourth module, a transaction engine, allows companies to upload standard contracts and create templates for contracts. As project managers update their service agreements, the transaction engine automatically triggers milestones. Upon contract completion, for example, that the engine sends information into the appropriate bac-kend system for invoicing and payment.
Elance provides standard adaptors to PeopleSoft Inc. and Oracle Corps human resources and financial packages, as well as Ariba Inc. and Oracles e-procurement systems.
As part of version 3.0, Elance will provide a connection to its Elance Vendor Network, a group of some 5,000 service providers.
Likewise, Elance will offer services procurement outsourcing. While that functionality is currently offered to online customers, Elance is retooling the program for the enterprise, according to officials.
While Elance, an independent company with about 80 employees, faces stiff competition from the likes of PeopleSoft, who last year purchased PSA vendor SkillsVillage, officials there say its biggest differentiator is its project and contract breakdown
Officials at the Sunnyvale, Calif. based company define contract services as a company hiring the services of an individual -- a database administrator for example -- to work on specific initiatives.
Project based procurement is defined as when a company hires a team of individuals to complete a project, like implementing a customer relationship management package.