Technology Advancement and E-Procurement in the US

Technology Advancement and E-Procurement in the US

Joshua M. Steinfeld (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Khi V. Thai (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2665-2.ch005


E-procurement has had a tremendous impact on the modernization of government and administration. In the U.S., the relationship between technology and e-procurement is central in determining the ability to adopt successful e-procurement. Significant investment in technology and human capital is required for the implementation of e-procurement systems. Despite widespread efforts to initialize e-procurement through direct investment in information and component technologies, a substantial portion of administrations’ efforts at achieving e-governance have failed. The need for customized solutions and managerial intervention has challenged government at all levels. Furthermore, technological advancement has not been welcomed by all administrations. Nonetheless, the advantages of e-procurement typically justify the effort required to implement and maintain such systems. Reductions in transaction costs, increased transparency, and improved relationships between government and businesses are all advantages of e-procurement. While there are significant challenges to e-procurement not limited to corruption, the benefits of e-procurement far outweigh the costs.
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Technology Advancement

Over the last 40 years, public sector organizations have been utilizing Information Technology (IT) systems to streamline and automate purchasing and related processes, but it is only in the past decade that e-procurement systems have been of focus. Developing e-procurement processes is difficult and still in its early stages of technological development (Pooler, Pooler, & Farney, 2004). There is certainly debate regarding exactly when e-procurement came into being, but there is no question as to the many advantages that e-procurement provides over previously implemented inter-organizational tools. For example, electronic data interchange has been used to support transactions involving suppliers and buyers since the 1960s. In the 1970s, enterprise resource planning dominated e-procurement strategy and with it came the first commercial use of the Internet. However, it was not until the late 1990s that the World Wide Web and its multimedia capabilities became a globally enabled resource for the execution of public procurement activities (Office of Government Commerce, 2002). The U.S. is regarded to be the first nation to adopt e-procurement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The first use of e-procurement in the public sector can be attributed to U.S. innovation that led to “dual use” technologies and “conversion” of military technologies into civilian applications in strategic high technology sectors (Mowery, 2001). Although “dual use” programs and “cooperative” technology development policies were mostly dissolved by the late 1990s, they serve as a foundation for experimentation related to the multiple trajectories that e-procurement systems are designed to manage (Bozeman & Dietz, 2001).

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