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THE NEWS INFORMATION FOR THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Meet Dale Kress, CGI's AMS Advantage Procurement Product Manager
AMS Advantage Procurement and Vendor Self Service are an integrated part of CGI’s AMS Advantage ERP suite, providing a collaborative end-to-end procurement management solution to support the unique business of state and local procurement professionals and vendors.
Today, 60+ state and local governments run AMS Advantage Procurement and 22 of them are using Vendor Self Service, taking advantage of Vendor Registration, Solicitation Posting and Evaluations to streamline procurement processes.
With each new release, enhancements add new functionality, making the solution more powerful, flexible and easier to use. For example, with Release 3.9 CGI introduces AMS Advantage PunchOut and e-Ordering services for faster ordering and quicker delivery.
Dale Kress, CGI Product Manager for AMS Advantage Procurement and Vendor Self Service, is one of the forces behind enhancing government-specific procurement functionality and keeping pace with client needs. A 22-year veteran of the Information Technology industry, Dale has worked in a wide range of roles for public sector clients, including the Commonwealth of Virginia, New York City, New York and Los Angeles County, California.
Dale joined us to talk about the flexibility of AMS Advantage Procurement and Vendor Self Service as well as what the team is working on now.
I understand AMS Advantage Procurement recently received its first patent.
AMS Advantage Procurement went through a major re-design for AMS Advantage 3, including the new 'Virtual Procurement Folder', which received the patent. By compiling all activities, documents, supporting information and correspondence for electronic procurement, public sector procurement professionals enter, store and retrieve all of the information that traditionally goes into a paper contract file.
The Virtual Procurement Folder guides buyers and their managers through the stages of a procurement lifecycle using a single repository for tracking assignments and reporting - and delivers an opportunity to reduce printing and storage costs with quick and easy access to an online contract file.
How did your experience prepare you for the role of Product Manager?
As a General Software Design Manager for AMS Advantage Procurement, I was responsible for developing project business requirements, conceptual designs and general project design requirements. As a Project Manager for various AMS Advantage implementations, I was responsible for managing all facets of the project and system, including staff and vendor partners.
These tasks are very similar to my role as Product Manager. I work closely with my counterparts on the User Group Steering Committee, Fran Pinkston from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Lori McClannahan, State of Iowa. Together we collaborate with clients across the community to understand their needs in the procurement area and define business requirements.
Once we have the requirements, I work closely with CGI’s Solutions Management Team during the design, development and testing phase of each release. With the Beta in progress, I work with our two Beta clients to implement and test the latest release.
What is new for AMS Advantage Procurement in Release 3.9?
There are a couple of big enhancements I am excited about for our clients. Last year’s Vendor Self Service Focus Group, led by CGI’s David Hay, resulted in the solicitation and response improvements that will be available in Release 3.9. I believe the result is a friendlier user interface so vendors can more effectively search for and respond to solicitations online.
In addition, the Vendor Self Service Financial Transaction inquiries will allow vendors to research transaction history online, including purchase orders and contracts, invoices, scheduled payments, disbursements, and 1099/1042S tax information, without having to pick up the phone. For the client, this means increased vendor satisfaction and less administrative support.
Vendor Self Service Vendor invoicing will help facilitate electronic interaction and streamline the accounts payable process by allowing vendors to create and submit vendors online. These invoices can be reviewed and approved similar to paper invoices, and will also follow a site’s defined three-way match process for payment generation.
Finally, the Procurement Folder has been enhanced in 3.9 to improve data access and capture additional information. The Procurement Folder has been re-designed to provide quick and easy access to the contents of the folder from a single page. This includes commonly accessed information such as procurement states, milestones and documents. In addition, the Procurement Folder has been extended to include payment and disbursement information in order to capture the full requisition-to-check lifecycle.
I understand Release 3.9 includes new services as well.
Yes, we have partnered with Hubspan, a leading provider of cloud-based business integration services, to offer AMS Advantage PunchOut and e-Ordering. Efficiency is a top priority for the AMS Advantage client community and leveraging modern technology to automate repeatable business processes is one way CGI is helping them achieve that goal.
For example, this new service targets the procurement business process with a low cost, low risk move from labor-intensive, paper-based transactions to electronic processing, including:
- PunchOut: Faster ordering and quicker, more accurate delivery by leveraging supplier eCommerce sites.
- e-Ordering: Sending orders electronically and eliminating the labor-intensive, paper-based transactions and the administrative efforts necessary to manage them.
I will provide an overview during my Product Direction session at CGI Forum 2011 Online and watch for a summer webinar from our Client Support Group!
Why are you excited about being Product Manager?
I have a lot of experience to draw upon, that I can bring to the process and the client community. While an expert in procurement, I also bring a project perspective – how will the product, or enhancements be implemented once they are launched. I bring an appreciation to what it takes to implement – just another way we can help our clients avoid the pitfalls and achieve success.
Have a question for Dale Kress? Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join Dale Kress for his sessions at CGI Forum 2011 Online:
- 1404: Product Direction: AMS Advantage Procurement and AMS Advantage Vendor Self Service
- 2301: AMS Advantage Vendor Self Service: "Old" and "New"