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Success amidst failure: How Oakland USD realized the promised value from procurement automation

  • Broadcast in Business
Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen


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At California’s Oakland Unified School District (USD), which manages 146 district schools with more than 45,000 students, the march toward e-procurement has paid enormous dividends. Not only is the district saving about $2 million annually, it is also improving the educational process by ensuring that computers, supplies and books are available when and where they’re needed, says Michael Moore, operations officer for Oakland USD. From my coverage of the calamitous exploits of SAP in which many industry analysts are of the opinion that the German-based giant is on life support teetering precariously close to flat-lining, and the corresponding challenges associated with struggling initiatives such as the one in Marin County, CA which resulted in a $30 million lawsuit, to the well documented struggles of Ariba, successful automation implementations of any kind are rarer than a legitimate Honus Wagner baseball card. While I have often likened purported successes in process automation to the claim by at least 250,000 people and counting, that they were at the very first MLB game of the Toronto Blue Jays - a difficult feat given the fact that the old CNE stadium in Toronto only seated 35,000, when you encounter someone who can actually produce the ticket stub the stories they have to share are amazing. Suffice to say, and what is the equivalent of talking with someone who had experienced the inaugural pitch first hand, the success of the Oakland Unified School District is both compelling and perhaps even to a degree inspiring. Michael Moore whose unassuming, aw shucks it was nothing demeanor is as refreshing as the results of the Oakland USD to automate its procurement work-flow process will join us to share what may very well become the proverbial road-map for other school districts to emulate given the current budgetary dilemma most states and municipalities are now facing.