Advanced Business Solutions

Advanced Cloud Procurement

A unified eCatalogue driven electronic requisitioning solution featuring highly flexible workflows and goods receipting. This is powered by consistently high quality structured data from the eCatalogue marketplace that feeds into a transaction hub for automated secure transmission of purchasing documents, comprehensive reporting tools, spend analytics and e-invoicing capability.

Features

  • Fast, easy to use, and intuitive user interface
  • Unique fully managed supplier enablement service
  • Over 28 million products; rich data consistently classified and enhanced
  • Accurate data feeds into order process
  • Complete control on suppliers and product visibility
  • Scalable; incorporates all free text as well as catalogue suppliers
  • Highly flexible requisition workflows seamlessly integrated from eCatalogue
  • Tolerance based, automated invoice pre-matching
  • Flexible eGRN capability, includes returns and adjustments
  • Line level spend analytics and intelligent data cleansing service

Benefits

  • Rapid adoption and ongoing compliance deliver year-on-year savings
  • High quality data that is always fully up-to-date
  • Meaningful comparison, best purchasing decisions, accurate orders, meaningful spend analysis
  • Rapid ROI - typically within 6 months of go-live
  • Contract compliance and efficiency savings
  • Maximise supplier reach and support return of e-procurement implementation investment
  • Flexibility between eGRN by goods inwards staff or end users
  • Matching rates as high as 97%; faster payments, efficiency gains
  • Single integration point from finance system but flexibility for suppliers
  • Facilitate supplier rationalisation and category management through spend analytics

Service scope

Service scope
Software add-on or extension Yes, but can also be used as a standalone service
What software services is the service an extension to The Advanced Cloud Procurement solution can be used stand-alone to provide a unified eCatalogue driven electronic requisitioning solution featuring highly flexible workflows and goods receipting.  However, it can also be easily integrated into a customer's finance/ERP system through the REST API to provide effortless integration of documents, commitment checks etc.
Cloud deployment model Hybrid cloud
Service constraints The solution is deployed to users via web browsers. We use responsive techniques in UX design to allow pages to be viewed in variety of form factors (e.g. desktop, mobile, tablet) and our developers use a number of different platforms in building the product. Our Browser Support Policy is updated every quarter and modern versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari are all fully supported. Releases are deployed on weekday evenings (Monday – Thursday) after 6:30pm, and the maximum downtime duration is 1 hour. Customers are notified of downtime by e-mail with a minimum of 7 days notice provided.
System requirements
  • Add URL to browser trusted site list for optimal performance
  • Modern version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari

User support

User support
Email or online ticketing support Email or online ticketing
Support response times Priority 1 - Target within 1 hour
Priority 2 - Target within 4 hour
Priority 3 - Target within 8 hour
User can manage status and priority of support tickets No
Phone support Yes
Phone support availability 9 to 5 (UK time), Monday to Friday
Web chat support Yes, at an extra cost
Web chat support availability 9 to 5 (UK time), Monday to Friday
Web chat support accessibility standard WCAG 2.1 AA or EN 301 549
Web chat accessibility testing N/A
Onsite support No
Support levels Support is provided around a priority and escalation system. When an incident is reported, a priority level is established based upon the information provided, understanding business impact is essential. Target service levels and response times are assigned based on an initial appraisal of the problem but can be revisited at any time by the client. The escalation procedure is designed to progress each call as efficiently as possible. OLA's are in place for escalations beyond support into the development and professional service teams.
Support available to third parties Yes

Onboarding and offboarding

Onboarding and offboarding
Getting started The specific training requirements of a customer would be identified and agreed during the implementation project. The solution incorporates extensive online Help (including videos, images and text) and ‘hard copy’ user guides are also available to system administrators. In practice, many end users do not even require the online help. Training is provided to system administrators and super-users during the implementation project as standard. Typically this lasts 1-2 days, depending upon the number of administrators to be trained, and the modules being taken by the customer. Additional training (to super users, or end users) is available on request, and can be delivered remotely or on-site as preferred.
Service documentation Yes
Documentation formats
  • HTML
  • Other
Other documentation formats Swagger
End-of-contract data extraction We have an established exit management process in place to retire customers. The aim would be to work closely with the client to enable a smooth and secure transition during exit so the process covers both transactional wind down and data migration. Note that following termination, the customer would as standard have no further access to the solution, or their historical data. Prior to that point, the customer will be able to save details of their transactions from the system if required. Please note however, that whilst Advanced facilitates electronic trading between Buyer and Supplier organisations, the solution is typically deployed such that all key data is already transferred to the ERP through business as usual activity. In a typical configuration, all purchase orders sent out by Advanced will already have been authorised by, and exist within the ERP. Similarly, all electronic invoices which pass the Advanced pre-match will have been made available to the ERP to pull down and process for payment. Additionally, all user logins/details created by the buyer within the system.
End-of-contract process We have an established exit management process in place to retire customers. The aim would be to work closely with the client to enable a smooth and secure transition during exit so the process covers both transactional wind down and data migration. Note that following termination, the customer would as standard have no further access to the solution, or their historical data. Prior to that point, the customer will be able to save details of their transactions from the system if required. There is no additional cost to the customer for saving details of their historical transactions from the system.

Using the service

Using the service
Web browser interface Yes
Supported browsers
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari 9+
  • Opera
Application to install No
Designed for use on mobile devices Yes
Differences between the mobile and desktop service The solution is deployed to users via web browsers. We use responsive techniques in UX design to allow pages to be viewed in a variety of form factors (e.g. desktop, mobile, tablet) and our developers use a number of different platforms in building the product. All key functions will be available across all supported browsers irrespective of the screen size.
Accessibility standards WCAG 2.1 AA or EN 301 549
Accessibility testing The system is designed to support accessibility for all types of users. All common user interface functions in the Science Warehouse solution are designed and developed to satisfy WCAG 2.0 AA. Consequently the site should be compatible with the majority of common accessibility tools, including but not limited to screen reading tools.
API Yes
What users can and can't do using the API The API provides secure, standards-based integration with modern finance and ERP systems through REST/JSON. The API enables accurate and timely data transfer between your system and Advanced, providing end users with an optimal and controlled procurement environment. All calls are initiated by the buyer system and a range of actions are available, e.g. POST, PUT, GET, PATCH, DELETE. Authorisation for the API is controlled via OAuth2 tokens. Documentation is provided to customers through Swagger.
API documentation Yes
API documentation formats Open API (also known as Swagger)
API sandbox or test environment Yes
Customisation available Yes
Description of customisation Advanced provides a flexible modular solution that can be customised in different ways ranging from the modules that are licensed, or made available to business units or users, integration methods, the suppliers that are connected, the workflows that are configured, the branding of the screens etc. Control exists at three levels - end users would be able to select some personal preferences (e.g. the ordering of solution elements on their homepage, or the Buyer Insight reports that are displayed there), considerable control would be divested to specific administrator users within customer accounts, and some by Advanced's implementation and support teams. All customisation by customers would be managed through their user interface.

Scaling

Scaling
Independence of resources Our solution is a web-based SaaS. As such we use a load-balanced server cluster which has been load tested to handle significantly more concurrent user activity than we currently experience. We have a capacity planning strategy that monitors and maintains the level of redundancy desired.

Analytics

Analytics
Service usage metrics Yes
Metrics types Service metrics are available from within the system covering user activity (search actions performed etc) in addition to business transactions. Infrastructure is monitored in real time with proactive monitoring ahead of agreed thresholds being breached, whereby incident management action is triggered.
Reporting types
  • API access
  • Real-time dashboards
  • Regular reports
  • Reports on request

Resellers

Resellers
Supplier type Not a reseller

Staff security

Staff security
Staff security clearance Other security clearance
Government security clearance Up to Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

Asset protection

Asset protection
Knowledge of data storage and processing locations Yes
Data storage and processing locations European Economic Area (EEA)
User control over data storage and processing locations Yes
Datacentre security standards Complies with a recognised standard (for example CSA CCM version 3.0)
Penetration testing frequency At least once a year
Penetration testing approach ‘IT Health Check’ performed by a Tigerscheme qualified provider or a CREST-approved service provider
Protecting data at rest Physical access control, complying with another standard
Data sanitisation process Yes
Data sanitisation type Explicit overwriting of storage before reallocation
Equipment disposal approach Complying with a recognised standard, for example CSA CCM v.30, CAS (Sanitisation) or ISO/IEC 27001

Data importing and exporting

Data importing and exporting
Data export approach Multiple interfaces are available for users to extract their data. Core transactional data, such as purchase order and invoice details, can be extracted through the user interface, as can supplier catalogues, price files and price change reports, and a host of other management information. Access to export data is restricted according to user permissions and the location of user accounts within the organisational hierarchy. Data can also be exported directly into other systems through the API.
Data export formats
  • CSV
  • Other
Other data export formats XLS
Data import formats
  • CSV
  • Other
Other data import formats XLS

Data-in-transit protection

Data-in-transit protection
Data protection between buyer and supplier networks
  • TLS (version 1.2 or above)
  • IPsec or TLS VPN gateway
  • Other
Other protection between networks Buyers can connect via HTTPS to our website. Once the connection reaches the load balancer, traffic is sent to the HTTPS protocol and after this all network communication is performed within a virtual private network with no external access.  Alternative communication mechanisms have also been deployed with specific customers, whilst ensuring that appropriate data protection mechanisms are always in place.  For example, by utilising SFTP file transfer, or deploying an integration over a VPN with IPSec connections.  We also expose API's that allow buyers to communicate with our system - and which are protected by Oauth2 tokens.
Data protection within supplier network
  • TLS (version 1.2 or above)
  • Other
Other protection within supplier network Once data is within the network, HTTPS is used to connect all services within the VPC, and all services are protected by security groups to reduce the access to only the load balancer for that service.  VPC's are also protected by network access control lists for both in- and outbound traffic to ensure access is tightly controlled.  Data that is trasferred via AWS services such as kinesis or SQS, are utilise assumed roles for specific services, again to ensure access is securely locked down.

Availability and resilience

Availability and resilience
Guaranteed availability Minimum 99.5% (Based on Monday to Friday - 8 - 6pm, excluding public holidays)
Approach to resilience All services are distributed over 2 out of 3 availability zones within AWS and served via load balancers to ensure resilience of the network.  Each service is monitored by an auto scale group such that if a service was to go down the auto scale group will start up a new instance, ensure the system effectively self heals.  All services use immutable infrastructure to ensure that termination of a virtual machine does not matter.  Our database contains 2 instances, a writer (master) node and a replica reader node.  In the event of a failure the service will automatically failover to the other node.  Again these nodes are served over two availability zones to allow failover in the event of a power cut.
Outage reporting The Advanced Managed Hosting service will proactively monitor the environment and provides Advanced with timely warnings of issues arising to allow pro-active intervention. Monitoring is focused on the health of the services and security.
The solution also captures capacity information over a period of time to allow for effective management.

Advanced will:-

1. configure and maintain a Monitoring Service to monitor and alert against detection thresholds;
2. resolve failures and errors in the Monitoring Service in accordance with the Incident Management Service Levels
3. ensure that critical and major monitoring alerts are reviewed and, where appropriate, an Incident logged by the Service Desk
4. assign Incidents arising from monitoring to Advanced Service Desk for diagnosis and resolution
5. capture server and network infrastructure data to enable the provision of capacity trend analysis

Alerts will be remediated within contracted Service Levels and customers notified through standard processes.

Identity and authentication

Identity and authentication
User authentication needed Yes
User authentication
  • Identity federation with existing provider (for example Google Apps)
  • Username or password
Access restrictions in management interfaces and support channels Only a sub set of internal users have access to our management interfaces and more powerful interfaces are closely controlled. We use a role-based access control framework to define user access levels.
Access restriction testing frequency At least once a year
Management access authentication
  • 2-factor authentication
  • Public key authentication (including by TLS client certificate)
  • Username or password
  • Other
Description of management access authentication Username/password authentication is used for customer facing configuration management.  2FA is in place for role-based access to the AWS console and we also utilise public/private key pairs for lower level server/database level administration.

Audit information for users

Audit information for users
Access to user activity audit information Users have access to real-time audit information
How long user audit data is stored for At least 12 months
Access to supplier activity audit information Users have access to real-time audit information
How long supplier audit data is stored for At least 12 months
How long system logs are stored for Between 1 month and 6 months

Standards and certifications

Standards and certifications
ISO/IEC 27001 certification Yes
Who accredited the ISO/IEC 27001 BSI (British Standards Institution)
ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation date 16/02/2018
What the ISO/IEC 27001 doesn’t cover All activity on G-Cloud is covered by ISO 7001
ISO 28000:2007 certification No
CSA STAR certification No
PCI certification No
Other security certifications Yes
Any other security certifications Cyber Essentials

Security governance

Security governance
Named board-level person responsible for service security Yes
Security governance certified Yes
Security governance standards
  • ISO/IEC 27001
  • Other
Other security governance standards NIST-SP800-27
Information security policies and processes Advanced information and security policies align to ISO 27001:2013.

Operational security

Operational security
Configuration and change management standard Conforms to a recognised standard, for example CSA CCM v3.0 or SSAE-16 / ISAE 3402
Configuration and change management approach Our Change Management process is built on the ITIL framework and is part of our ISO 27001 certified ISMS. We use a group of configuration management tools to control different aspects of our solution and there is a formal change management process for progressing modifications to the live environment.
Vulnerability management type Conforms to a recognised standard, for example CSA CCM v3.0 or SSAE-16 / ISAE 3402
Vulnerability management approach All vulnerabilities are managed via our ISMS risk management process. New threats are identified from a variety of channels including specialised news feed monitoring, vendor and partner notifications. We also retain a security consultancy whose remit includes threat horizon monitoring. We also conduct periodic vulnerability scans to explore for potential issues and our hosting partners use similar approach for the background infrastructure. Patch deployment speed is closely linked to the risk benefit assessment including if alternative mitigation is already in place through our “defence in depth” strategy. This means that patching can be scheduled to minimise end-user impact.
Protective monitoring type Supplier-defined controls
Protective monitoring approach Both active monitoring for anomalies and log review are used to identify potential issues. Depending on the type & clarity of potential compromises we may either investigate further or initiate our Major Incident Process to assess the full severity. All these however are escalated for broad internal awareness. The initial response will be with the hour during business hours and we have staff on call outside this for major issues.
Incident management type Supplier-defined controls
Incident management approach All incidents should be directed to our Support Desk, the majority of issues and low level incidents are handled as part of the service desk process based in the ITIL framework. If required we invoke our documented Major Incident Process. This provides details a framework for handling events including; actions, escalation routes, communication plans and timelines, closure criteria and root cause analysis. Post incident reports are issued through our account management team. Any breaches of security that compromised customer details would be assessed by the for reporting to the Information Commissioners Office or other relevant authorities.

Secure development

Secure development
Approach to secure software development best practice Independent review of processes (for example CESG CPA Build Standard, ISO/IEC 27034, ISO/IEC 27001 or CSA CCM v3.0)

Public sector networks

Public sector networks
Connection to public sector networks Yes
Connected networks
  • NHS Network (N3)
  • Joint Academic Network (JANET)

Pricing

Pricing
Price £20000 per instance per year
Discount for educational organisations No
Free trial available No

Service documents

pdf document: Pricing document pdf document: Skills Framework for the Information Age rate card pdf document: Service definition document pdf document: Terms and conditions pdf document: Modern Slavery statement
Service documents
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