What is SmartBuyMSU?

SmartBuyMSU provides a comprehensive solution for purchasing, contracting, receiving invoices, and issuing payments. The platform streamlines the procurement process, improving efficiency and enabling campus departments to access all relevant documents. We will be using these four modules: eProcurement,Invoicing, Supplier Management, and Contracts +.

Paperless Invoicing

SmartBuyMSU Invoicing will boost efficiency, increase visibility and control over payment processes, and facilitate the move to paperless invoicing.

-Fewer late payment penalties, ensuring prompt payment discounts  

-Less data entry errors causing duplicate or incorrect payments  

-Touchless eInvoicing, paper to digital invoice OCR scanning  

-Configurable workflows for access, compliance, matching and approvals  

Central Supplier Management

SmartBuyMSU Supplier Management will maintain all supplier data in a central cloud-based repository, providing one location for all data entry, searching, and reporting. This means improved data consistency, depth, and accuracy and accessibility by all MUS units.

-Automatic vendor driven onboarding, eliminating manual time-consuming process.  

-Full integration with eProcurement and Invoicing  


Contract Management

SmartBuyMSU Contracts + will provide a central repository for all MSU campuses and will allow for increased usage of already pre-bid contracts, eliminating duplicative efforts.

-Contract authoring tool to ensure proper information is included, and legal provisions remain intact  

-Fully integrating with current e-signature tool, DocuSign  

-Visibility on all available contracts and automatic notifications for renewals 

Guided Procurement

SmartBuyMSU eProcurement will simplify the buying process to improve spend management across all MSU campuses and enable MSU to influence buying decisions.

-Promoted contracted suppliers to increase contract compliance 

-Guided buying to ensure resource engagement and completion of all required procurement forms.

-Increased speed of requisition creation, approval and submittal

Rollout Timeline

  1. Acquisition: This phase has been completed. We have a contract with Jaggaer for their eProcurement software solution.
  2. Planning: This phase has been completed. Project Kick-Off took place in November of 2021.
  3. Implementation:
    • Contracts+ - completed.
    • All SmartBuyMSU modules going live April 29th.
    • Training to begin April 2nd through April 19th; Look for emails to register for training.   
  4. Closeout: Spring 2024.
  5. Sustainment: TBD


Frequently Asked Questions

The primary goals of SmartBuyMSU are:

  • Improved spend management across all MSU campuses, leveraging our collective purchasing power to receive the best pricing.
    • Savings ($) through efficiency and contracted buying.
  • Promoting suppliers already under contract to increase compliance and maximize savings / discounts.
  • Streamlined buying through the SmartBuyMSU marketplace, allowing you to quickly find what you’re looking for and ensuring the best price and delivery options.
  • More efficient payment processes, leading to paperless invoicing.
  • A cloud-based repository of supplier data, providing one location for all data entry, searching, and reporting.
  • A centralized list of contracts for all MSU campuses that will allow for increased use of pre-bid contracts, eliminating duplication of efforts.
  • Provide guided buying to ensure resource engagement, contract authoring, and completion of all required compliance documents.
  • Increase speed of requisition creation, approval, and submittal.
  • Fewer late payment penalties, ensuring prompt payment discounts.
  • Reduced data entry errors and mismatches causing duplicate or incorrect payments.
  • Automatic vendor driven onboarding which eliminates a manual time-consuming process.
  • Additional sourcing of key commodities and services with the goal of reducing the cost to campus.
  • Collaborating with other State of Montana agencies and MUS colleges and universities to leverage existing purchasing contracts.

Most, if not all, purchases and procurements will be recorded into SmartBuyMSU, with exception to travel, hospitality, and extraordinary purchases made with p-cards which will continue to flow through Chrome River. Efficiencies and cost savings will be maximized if MSU adopts an all-in model. The SmartBuyMSU modules purchased are designed and intended to modernize the business processes of the university.

The SmartBuyMSU system will fully integrate with Banner through Ellucian’s new connector software, Ethos. Ethos supports two-way connectivity between SmartBuyMSU and Banner so that all contract, supplier, procurement, and invoicing data collected in SmartBuyMSU will be reflected in Banner in real-time.

Formal solicitations such as RFP’s and IFB’s will still be coordinated in the State’s eMACS system. However, catalog purchasing from the eMACS system will be replaced by SmartBuyMSU. All current eMACS users will be trained on how to conduct the same business processes within the SmartBuyMSU system. The same contracts and catalogs will be available within SmartBuyMSU.

Adopting SmartBuyMSU creates efficiencies with the purchasing, invoicing, and payment processes. SmartBuyMSU will offer streamlined purchasing through negotiated prices in integrated catalogs such as Amazon, Staples, and Grainger. SmartBuyMSU is capable of receiving invoices directly from vendors or allowing users to upload invoices already received from vendors for items purchased outside of the SmartBuyMSU system. SmartBuyMSU will also put the vendor in control of their own account and allow them to maintain their own vendor profile, including W9’s, insurance, and banking information.

With the convenience of the SmartBuyMSU system and its full integration into Banner, MSU anticipates that the use of P-Cards will be reduced to travel, hospitality, and extraordinary purchases of items not contained within the SmartBuyMSU catalogs. The SmartBuyMSU system will provide a streamlined environment to make purchases, receive invoices, and send payments to vendors.

Efficiencies of the new procurement system will eliminate many of the distinctions between the two. Purchase requisitions will be created for all purchase orders. Once the requisition is routed and approved through a queue, the vendor will automatically receive a purchase order where the invoice and payment processes will be initiated.

SmartBuyMSU is a 4-campus business solution aimed at modernizing university business processes, resulting in savings of time and money for departments and campus business offices.

Currently, approval procedures are lacking standardization in some areas and are therefore a business risk. With SmartBuyMSU, the approval process will be standardized across campus for all purchases and dollar values associated with those purchases. Employees will be assigned a role within the system such as Shopper, Requestor, or Approver depending on their primary job duties whereas some users will be assigned multiple roles. Approval queues will be implemented and utilized so that the proper people are approving purchases to capitalize on relationships such as employee/supervisor and purchaser/delegate.

A purchase within SmartBuyMSU from a contracted vendor.

SmartBuyMSU will allow for non-catalog purchases to be made following the same approval workflow as a catalog purchase.


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