A major customer has decided, as many big companies are wont to do, to centralize their procurement through a clunky, heavily-customized software implementation.
As is typically the case, this pushes their internal administrative work onto their supplier (i.e. me), and probably accomplishes some short-term savings in the form of administrative staff reductions. There is probably added visibility to spend, which is leveraged into strong-arming key suppliers. Of course, as none of this is truly value-adding, and typically adds bureaucracy at the expense of flexibility, it will be hated by the field offices. In the short-term, it will impede them from reacting quickly to customer needs; in the long-term, they will begin to subvert the system; the fracturing will begin anew. It also alienates suppliers, and in spite of the leverage, in a way it may impede pricing negotiations; it costs more money for a supplier to administer the work. Further, by limiting flexibility, it tends to lock in certain suppliers (good for me!) at the expense of smaller ones that can't, or won't, sign up for the system.
All this is fine and good, only this time they've added insult through the fact that the third-party software supplier is charging us a monthly fee for the service! LOL.
I can almost envision GreenFrog selling clients on something like this.