Oracle Offers Punch-out in iProcurement

Punch-out lets B2B shoppers remain within an in-house application while traveling to other Web sites to shop.

The term "punch-out" is making a comeback in online procurement circles.

Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif., on Wednesday announced a new online procurement feature that allows corporate buyers to browse and buy materials from online suppliers without leaving the Oracle iProcurement application.

The idea behind punch-out—a standard term in online procurement circles—is to provide users with a consistent business-to-business shopping experience on the Internet by enabling them to remain within an in-house application while traveling outside that to shop.

Previous to the punch-out feature, Oracle iProcurement users were required to navigate through supplier Web sites to find products and then head back to the procurement application to complete the order. With the new punch-out feature, users can search and complete transactions without leaving the iProcurement application, officials said.

The Oracle iProcurement punch-out feature works by directing search requests to supplier systems via a structured XML protocol and returning matching results directly to the users iProcurement screens. The XML protocol behind Oracles punch-out feature is available for free to all suppliers.

To avoid replication and publication of catalog content to remote systems, suppliers can store information centrally for availability to customers.

The punch-out feature was developed in conjunction with the Oracle Procurement Customer Advisory Board and is available now in the companys latest version of iProcurement.