Despite technical difficulties (isn’t live radio grand?), the interview with Oakland Unified School District’s Moore delivers timely insights

Posted on February 16, 2011


Despite technical difficulties both at the very start and end of the show, the meat of the interview sandwich as I would call it with Oakland Unified School District’s Michael Moore was very informative especially within the present day context of budgetary shortfalls at the State and municipal levels.


Gov.-elect Jerry Brown warned education leaders in Dec. 2010 to "fasten your seat belts" when he unveils his proposed budget for next year, saying the plan will include painful cuts in school funding.

Like Nassau County, whose finances were recently taken over by New York State, Oakland USD was operating under a similar scenario back in 2005 when Moore and his team embarked on a workflow automation process that was built on the Elcom paltform.

At the heart of our discussion was the following 5 Key Tips as Moore called them, that were and still are essential to success.  However, and this another aspect of the conversation that was most interesting, is that many of the long-held beliefs such as requiring buyers to use the system were eschewed in favor of a collaborative effort that was focused on making the job on the front lines easier.   Make note of Michael’s comment that he wanted to implement a system which would enable a teacher to order pencils at 2:00 AM in their pajamas from home.

Michael Moore’s 5 Key Tips for automating the procurement process and realizing savings of $2 million in year one:

  • Tip No. 1 – Embrace a decentralized buying model
  • Tip No. 2 – Use e-quotes
  • Tip No. 3 – Build controls into the workflow
  • Tip No. 4 – Tie the system into an ERP application
  • Tip No. 5 – Provide adequate education and training

The tips seem both logical and straight forward enough yet, with 85% of all eProcurement initiatives failing to deliver the expected results, one has to wonder why Oakland USD has been so successful.

As my fellow host on the 49th Parallel Forum Jim Bouchard would put it, the answer is a simple – not easy.  Tune in to the on-demand broadcast “Success amidst failure: How Oakland USD realized the promised value from procurement automation” and find out how to set the course to get your initiative off to a strong start or, back on track.