Bank of Montreal has won a four-year contract to provide procurement card services to more than 100 Canadian federal government departments and agencies, one of the largest purchasing card agreements in the country.
"It's certainly a major piece of business we have wanted," said Randy Ford, director at Bank of Montreal's ePurchasing solutions unit in Toronto. "It provides a good name."
The government will use Bank of Montreal's payment and systems integration experience to automate and optimize its procurement process, and thereby achieve maximum cost saving and administrative efficiencies, according to Robert Berniquez, director at the government's financial management policy division.
Under the agreement, Bank of Montreal will provide a government-branded MasterCard to 28,000 federal employees, who will use it to pay for government purchases in both the online and offline worlds.
Under the government's previous deal with National Bank, which also provided a MasterCard service, the government's annual spending was C$400 million. Volume should grow significantly as cards are made available to more agencies and purchasing managers, said Ford.
Bank of Montreal will also provide the government with BMO Details Online, a Web-based proprietary reporting and data integration solution.
That creates lots of opportunities on the integration front, Ford noted. Because some agencies' data systems aren't connected to the government's general ledger system, there's room for more integration with the government's back-end systems. "We're very good at that process and we'll help them with that," he said.
Bank of Montreal will accomplish that by bringing more people online and introducing more automated procurement processes, Ford said.
BMO Details Online, which provides users with more than 300 ways to view and report on transactions, will reduce the government's reliance on paper and allow employees to manage purchasing information electronically.
By moving more purchases onto cards and then managing that information electronically, BMO Details Online will provide the government with a better understanding of what items are being purchased and from which suppliers. That information can then be culled to allow the government to negotiate better deals on supplies and services.
"It provides us with an easy way to access valuable information and then leverage it to make the best purchasing decisions," said Berniquez.