Monday, 24 November 2014

Take control of your own category planning tool

Last weekend we released a great new enhancement to let our users white-label the Category Dojo opportunity assessment tool.  

Whilst our Market Dojo eSourcing tool has been white-labelled for quite some time now, even to the extent of hosting it on your own bespoke URL, for example our US partner:  http://eauction.aggate.com, we were yet to roll this out on Category Dojo - until now!

So from now on anyone can take the advantage of bespoking the tool to make it feel like part of their own toolset.  Procurement consultants:  we're looking at you here!   The next time you're running a client workshop to uncover the procurement opportunities across their spend profile, consider badging up our tool to demonstrate your expertise and professionalism with the very latest technology.

You can even operate the tool in your own licence yet give clients the rights to see their own data.  Therefore you'll give yourself a permanent reason to stay on their agenda instead of just a one-off project.

Alternatively, you can resell the tool into your clients and sell your services to help them get the most from it. 

Whatever you choose, you'll at least now be able to blend our technology into your procurement strategy planning.

Cloning from the Sandpit
 
As well as the above upgrade, we also released a whole host of other great things.  This includes one of the most asked-for features to have the ability to create a test event in our unique Sandpit and run it through to completion before copying it over to the Live environment ready to send out to your participants.

As they say, "practice makes perfect"!


About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Friday, 21 November 2014

5 Security Questions to ask your SaaS provider

When evaluating Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions one of the most important things to consider is security.

Image result for security

Our customers usually ask about security as part of their evaluation process.  We thought it would be interesting to compile our list of the top 5 questions to ask. When using a SaaS solution your information will pass through several systems.  Your data will be passed from an application front end (often a web browser), across the Internet to a server in a data centre where it will be stored. Each step in the process has risks associated with it. Each risk has precautions that should be used to mitigate it.

1. What security features are built into the application?

The provider should be able to explain how the authentication (to identify who a user is) and authorization (to identify what a user is allowed to see) systems work within their application.
They should also be able to explain what audit systems are in place, so that there is a way to determine how changes to your data occurred.
They should also be able to give details of how they perform Quality Assurance (QA) to test the security of the application.

2. How is communication across the Internet secured?

Any sensitive data should be transferred using the https rather than http protocol.  This guarantees that your data cannot be intercepted and understood by a third party.  The https protocol requires use of an SSL certificate from a provider such as Thawte.  SSL Security costs are a small price to pay in order keep your data secure.

3. How secure is our data on your servers?

Using a SaaS provider usually means that your data will be held in a location that is not under your direct control. The provider should be able to give assurances about the standard of security they adhere to. This information should include:
What system testing is performed to ensure the data is secure?
How do you track who has access to our data?
What policies and procedures are in place to ensure that data is disposed of securely?
What physical controls are there to limit access to the datacentre where your data is held?
Where is my data physically held? 
You should be aware of what data privacy laws exist in the country where your data is held; and your company may have rules around what data can leave the country.

4. What accreditations do you have?

Accreditations show that the provider takes security seriously, and have been audited by a 3rd party.
There is a range of accreditations relating to the security standards in place. For example, ISO 27001 for Security Management and ISO 20000 for Service Management, BS25999 for Business Continuity and Data Recovery. You can also ask about what other customers they have which may require a high level of security, for example the UK Government give services a ranking according to how secure the data they are cleared to hold.

5. What is your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Although we hope a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan never has to be carried out, it is important that one is in place. Understanding the DR plan ensures you can assess the potential impact on your business. 




About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Monday, 17 November 2014

What's great about our auction platform?

We are very proud of our eAuction platform.  It was our initial business proposition and still draws in the crowds.  We have users from companies ranging from one million in turnover to many billions, running tenders on all types of goods and services from values of thousands to hundreds of millions. 

No other platform gives gives you the ability to call in in the morning and run an auction in the afternoon without the need to train the suppliers.  We recognise that preparing for an eAuction can be challenging, and the system should help with this challenge, not be an additional hurdle to overcome.  

Our platform also has many capabilities from including a Pre Qualification Questionnaire to weighted auctions. See more of our functionality here.

However, in this blog we really wanted to show you the cool parts of our interface. (Click here for the video) 

Overview:

This is an overview of the eAuction screen. Colourful, compact and nearly everything is 'click-able' for further information, which can be seen in the following images.


Settings

These can be changed live during an auction.  You can see the pause button and also the ability to change the heart of the eAuction settings such as the duration, the dynamic close, changing who it applies to and also altering the min and max bid decrements.


Live feed

We have a great live feed to keep you up to date with the goings on without the need to look at all the lots individually.  It is also there for the suppliers so they can see the latest and greatest.


Lot Matrix - 'The summary'

See an overview of the event from a lot perspective with bespoke total calculations.

Notice the 'stock market' type updates highlighting where the bids have been placed.

Lot Matrix - 'The lines'

See the event overview from a line item perspective with a click of a button.

Lot Matrix - 'The suppliers'

See the line items by supplier.

Lot Matrix - 'The detail'

Lastly, with another click, you can see the suppliers, by component, by line item in real time during the eAuction


Other features

See who is active, send messages, place proxy bids and you have the ability to delete bids all from within the auction interface


See the graphs

Check out your results graphically displayed in real time.  No need to wait for a periodic refresh as we use new technology to display bids as soon as they come in.


If you want to see this for yourself then you can simply sign up for free and try everything out in our sandpit.  Welcome to the Dojo!




About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com


Thursday, 13 November 2014

How to untangle tied bids

What would you do if two bids tied for first place in your tender process? Put a plan in place to avoid tying yourself up in knots, says Nick Drewe, co-founder of Market Dojo.

In a most economically advantageous tender (MEAT), bidders are allocated an overall score based on their price evaluation and their quality/non-price evaluation. However, there are often inconsistencies in how tied bids are treated during a MEAT or weighted tender. Although a tie is unlikely, it can and does occur. It does not have to be an exact tie but a statistical tie, i.e. within acceptable margins of error. Therefore even if the two overall scores are not identical, they have to be sufficiently distinct not to be considered a tie. So, in the event of a tie, how can the authority finalise the award decision?

Use of tie-breakers

The UK Practical Law website outlines some solutions, such as building tie-breakers into the evaluation model and disclosing to bidders upfront how such a mechanism would be used. Examples include setting additional questions, re-valuing (up or down) previously specified points or re-evaluating parts of the tender. This correlates with some publicly available tender documentation such as the Legal Services Commission, the South West Devon Waste Partnership and the Learner Access and Engagement Programme. Examples include the final award being decided by interview, by the use of tie-breaker questions included within the original set of tender documents, or the supplier with the best price being awarded the contract. Another option is to avoid the situation altogether by re-evaluating the tied proposals in private to define which is most economically advantageous. However, this can be highly subjective and is not recommended.

See the rest of this article in its original form as published by Supply Management here.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com