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Business Finland & Solu Digital

Securing correctly executed procurements and monitoring of expenses with a procurement portfolio working on the Microsoft 365 platform

Business Finland is a Finnish public operator offering innovation financing and internationalization services. The organization promotes tourism and investments in Finland with 600 experts in 40 locations around the world and 16 locations in Finland.

A tool for procurement in accordance with laws and budget

Like other public administration operators, Business Finland operates within the framework of the Procurement Act and other legislation when tendering for its organization’s procurements at national and European Union level. When using public funds, tendering procurements in accordance with the law and staying within the budget and schedule are critical factors in the organization’s project activities.

The procurement portfolio adapted to Business Finland’s needs meets many needs related to procurement connected to Business Finland’s projects, from the correct procedure to monitoring costs.

“We have procurement experts, but everyone had their own style and way of doing things, and the information was in many places,” says Kristian Hartikainen, Senior Advisor from Business Finland’s procurement department.

“Now we have one tool, one place where all this information about procurement is available from beginning to end, from procurement planning to the end of the contract period.”

Kristian Hartikainen
Senior Advisor, Business Finland

With the help of the procurement portfolio, Business Finland’s procurement department aims to ensure that the procurement does not fail due to a formal mistake, an unclear mandate, or a misjudgment of the size of the procurement.

The procurement portfolio keeps Business Finland’s procurement under control

A procurement portfolio operating in the Microsoft 365 environment is used by Business Finland as a common tool for both the business unit and the procurement operation.

Good partners and offers are ensured for the procurement, once the right procedure has been chosen. The procurement portfolio functions as a project tool and legal assistant, with which the procurement process ensures the correctness and legality of the procurements by means of procedure-dependent progress and gateway questions related to its stages.

“We are able to predict well in advance when a new tender must be started, because the total value cannot be exceeded, and we have to make sure that the Procurement Act is followed,” Kristian explains.

“We have a lot of different procedures in public procurement, so we have to be able to manage different procedures through the portfolio as well as possible.”

Kristian Hartikainen
Senior Advisor, Business Finland

Successful public procurement from start to finish

Business Finland’s business unit registers procurement needs with a new procurement form. Based on that information the procurement department prepares and verifies procurement-related information and necessary actions with details. This ensures that the procurement starts in the right way from the beginning.

Business Finland’s business unit registers procurement needs with a new procurement form. Based on that information the procurement department prepares and verifies procurement-related information and necessary actions with details. This ensures that the procurement starts in the right way from the beginning.

The procurement procedure dictates the steps involved in its progress – for example, whether there is a publication of a request for participation or the processing of applications, or whether it is a lighter procedure where requests for tenders are sent and responses are received. The procurement can be started immediately after choosing the procedure.

Each procurement phase, which depends on the procedure, has its own set of questions. The procurement will only proceed to the next stage if you can pass the check point questions. With the help of the answers, it is ensured that no information or actions are forgotten in the various phases of the procurement and that it proceeds in accordance with the law and on schedule.

After the bidding process is completed and the partner selection is confirmed, the procurement progresses in the procurement portfolio to the contract period phase. During this phase the procurement department remains involved in the project and monitors procurement costs. In the finance tab of the procurement portfolio, information is collected from Business Finland’s purchase invoice system about the costs accumulated with the procurement case number during the procurement’s life cycle.

The management and the procurement department get extensive information about individual procurements and the whole portfolio of procurements with the Power BI reports of the procurement portfolio tool.

New tool reduces manual work

Before the tool, the recording of procurement needs as well as their planning and preparation was handled manually with the help of various Excels, calculations and reports. For expense monitoring, the procurement department had to ask the financial administration to calculate the situation of each procurement in terms of expenses, employing several people for a large part of the working time.

“At Business Finland, our procurement team conducts around 300-400 procurements every year. During the past few years, we have spent around 50–60 million euros on procurement per year,” Kristian clarifies.

“It means that such procurements cannot be properly managed, planned and strategically managed if there was no procurement portfolio.”

The development of the procurement portfolio continues in cooperation with Soul Digital to serve future needs and further facilitate the work of Business Finland’s experts working in procurement.

“The best part of this cooperation has probably been the flexibility. Solu Digital has been surprisingly flexible with the fact that we are busy and have a lot of tenders all the time, but at the same time we have been able to develop the procurement portfolio.”

Kristian Hartikainen
Senior Advisor, Business Finland

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