Keytree transforms procurement at Serco with ‘Guided Buying’

Serco is an international organisation employing more than 50,000 people and operating across four geographies: UK and Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The public services specialist is a FTSE 250 company and manages over 600 contracts worldwide with a focus on Citizen Services, Defence, Health, Justice & Immigration, and Transport.

Each Serco contract has individual requirements but all have purchasing needs, ranging from a small number of products to large-scale purchases.  Operating in silos, purchasers were buying the same products at different prices from different vendors. Serco wanted to drive efficiencies into this process and engaged Keytree to help set up a ‘one stop shop’ allowing all contracts to buy items in one place at the best price.


By maintaining the focus on user needs, Keytree designed screens and processes that are creating positive experiences for Serco employees, lowering regulatory and compliance risk and delivering millions in procurement cost savings.

Keytree places the user at the heart of the solution

Working with a system that’s hard to navigate and difficult to use is exasperating, encourages poor decision making, provides unreliable corporate data and costs companies millions.  Addressing the needs of the user directly within processes – by putting the emphasis on UX – addresses these issues.  By working closely with the Keytree UX team, Serco was able to fully appreciate the needs of each contract from the user’s perspective – vital in identifying pain points and delivering efficiency. This insight was supplemented by the central purchasing team on compliance, workflow and cost control requirements.

The transformation of procurement needed to encompass the full variety of purchasing activity across all contracts, which traditionally had been performed by their ageing SRM system so Keytree delivered a solution that seamlessly integrated into Serco’s pre-existing infrastructure using SAP Gateway and SAP UI5.

case study Serco

How the UX-driven solution makes buying a painless experience

If you want to buy something, the first step is to find it quickly. For Serco, this was a challenge as there was nothing in place to support this – so Keytree created a Google equivalent for searching products. Purchasers now type in a product name and are instantly offered relevant products at the best price from approved suppliers.

Once the product is selected, the system minimises the number of steps to purchase before progressing to the approval stage. Managers have a clean and clear way for viewing approvals and get the necessary detail for high-risk or high-value items. Purchasing decisions are now quicker and controls more precise. Purchasing data is now accurate as users buy products rather than using ‘free text’ descriptions. Resultantly, all downstream business intelligence data is accurate, and Serco now has a clear global picture of spending by product categories and supplier.