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W&M Introduces New Procure-to-Pay System

W&M IT and staff from across the university have come together to implement a new procure-to-pay system for the university. The new system is contracted through Jaggaer and branded as buyW&M.  The system has been in development for 14 months and will officially "go live" this summer. 

Following the announcement by the Commonwealth of Virginia that eVA, the current state electronic procurement system, would be replaced, the university evaluated its options. In late 2019, W&M selected Jaggaer’s cloud-based solution based on its enhanced internal and external user experiences and many opportunities for improved efficiency. The platform modules being implemented are Supplier Management, eProcurement, Invoicing, Contracts+, and Sourcing.

The new buyW&M system will be a one-stop shop experience, allowing users to find vendors, create shopping carts of goods and services as well as obtain requisition approval all on one site. Director of Procurement Services Marra Austin says the new system will “replace fragmented paper-based approval processes with a system generated automated approval workflow that is tailored to the items being procured.” Once goods and services are delivered, users will mark items as received and initiate the payment process within buyW&M, replacing the current Vendor Payment Request Form.   

Browsable catalogs have been configured for over a dozen high volume or high spend vendors such as The Supply Room Companies, Amazon, and Fisher Scientific to provide users with access to negotiated pricing for these suppliers. BuyW&M will receive electronic invoices from these vendors which will automatically be submitted for payment if the goods have been received and key invoice elements match the purchase order.

The previous (current) procurement and payment processes have been enhanced over time but lack efficiency. BuyW&M streamlines processes by providing an intuitive platform that addresses the full procure-to-pay life cycle with improved automation. Technology Project Manager Catherine Freiling says "a key benefit from the IT side is the integration between buyW&M and Banner, which allows the information to be up to date in real time, a feature missing in the previous interfaces.”

When researching procurement systems, the project team found that Jaggaer was utilized at over 70% of R1 universities (those that engage in the highest levels of research activity.) Additionally, Jaggaer had been integrated successfully at schools that use Banner as their enterprise information system (like W&M).  After signing the contract, W&M met with peer institutions that utilize Jaggaer. The W&M core project team has been especially grateful to learn from Virginia Commonwealth University who recently implemented the same system.

Once W&M had committed to introducing this new system, the next step was to work within the university community for feedback and collaboration. University-wide teams came together to work on the project.  In particular, a functional user group of about 30 people was created. This group tested specific procurement scenarios and provided feedback to ensure that everything was working efficiently and correctly.

Additionally, Austin and other implementation project team members have been hosting town halls and open labs, all virtually, for the W&M and VIMS campuses to prepare the community for the transition. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most members of the W&M faculty and staff have been remote, making these virtual sessions crucial for providing information, updates, and opportunities for questions. Austin plans on continuing with these town halls even after the system goes live.

When signing the contract in December 2019, no one at W&M would have imagined all the change the university would go through in the next year. However, this new system is an opportunity to embrace a positive change and drive more efficient processes. Throughout the rollout, Austin noted how she has seen “engagement with the campus community and a willingness and desire to learn and try new things.” BuyW&M will provide the campus a more efficient procure-to-pay system, and all the people working on the project are committed to making the transition as simple as possible.  For any questions about buyW&M, please contact [[buywm]].