The Trading Partner's Buyer Application
In order to understand the operational requirements for the software on the supplier's system, it is important to review the functionality of the trading partner's buyer application. In this context, "buyer application" is being used to describe the entire class of such applications with which the supplier's system may interact. Buyer applications include:
- Procurement applications. A procurement application is an application used by a business to manage the process of buying products and services. The procurement application provides an interface through which a buyer can choose items and initiate the purchasing process. After the purchase is initiated, additional processing is generally required, such as routing the purchase order to the appropriate party (or parties) for approval and informing the accounts receivable department. How many of these additional steps are performed within the procurement application itself will vary from business to business. A procurement application may or may not be Web-based, though the trend is in that direction.
- Marketplaces. A marketplace is a business that specializes in consolidating the product offerings of multiple suppliers into a single location from which they can be purchased. Third-party businesses and, in some cases, individuals can shop in a marketplace, placing products from a variety of suppliers in their baskets, and then checking out as a single purchase. Various details about such transactions, such as how billing is handled, or whether all products are available to all shoppers, will vary from marketplace to marketplace.
Regardless of the type of buyer application, the basic interactions between the supplier and the trading partner systems will be the same. In most cases, product catalogs, at some level of detail or another, will move from the supplier system to the trading partner system. And purchase orders will move from the trading partner system to the supplier system.