The advent of the Internet as a business systems platform has been a catalyst for major changes in the operation and status of organizational procurement. Early e-procurement literature forecast significant improvements in procurement costs, an improving status of the purchasing function, and changes to the structure of supply markets. Our study seeks to evaluate the validity of these forecasts through the development of a structural model of the ‘e-procurement effect’. This model is intended to define the dynamics of the e-procurement process in an organization and provide a foundation for a research stream into the transformational effect of e-procurement deployment.
The article presents the evaluation of e-procurement implementation and operation from an 18-month study of e-procurement deployment across nine UK public sector organizations. The article explores five key themes in e-procurement, namely system specification, implementation management, changes to organizational characteristics, changes in total acquisition costs, and changes to governance structures.
Our analysis suggests that the proposed structural model of the e-procurement effect is broadly applicable and that many of the previous claimed benefits in the literature can be realized. We also contend that an important variable for the success of e-procurement adoption is to address the internal service quality attributes of e-procurement processes—a topic which offers significant scope for future research.