Reading this column by Bill Kutik about the convergence of social media with HR applications once again made me think about the possibilities of integrating greater social activity into the very core of the tools we use as procurement and supply chain professionals in our professional lives every day. Bill suggests in a recent round of briefings with these providers that he's enthusiastic about how these vendors appear to understand the importance of social media. To this end, they're "not just delivering a separate module to create an internal corporate Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, but actually inserting networking capabilities into existing applications to make them smarter, better and faster."
Bill cites SuccessFactor's plans to incorporate a recent social media acquisition into applications fueling the core hiring process as a fascinating archetype indeed. Not convinced? Think about how we do hiring today, especially for senior roles. Inside most companies, Bill suggests, any candidates we consider for a senior position has at least five interviews "with the boss or hiring manager, with colleagues, even with direct reports or the manager's boss." SuccessFactors' goal by incorporating social media will enable all of these interviewers to "discuss the candidate online, just like on a social network, within a strictly defined group visible only to the interviewers. Discussions that formerly took place via e-mail, over the telephone or even in person could now all take place within, and be facilitated by, the recruiting application. All captured, archived and auditable."
As a general role, the majority of folks I know in procurement above the age of 35 are skeptical of social networking technologies (incidentally, I get feedback that many who read Spend Matters and our sister-site MetalMiner simply refer to the publications as a "resource" or "analyst site" without labeling it what they are in our view: blogs or new media publishing sites). Yet there are a handful of people I could name in the profession, some very senior, who are passionate about the potential for the application of social media and social interaction to the field. What are some areas of procurement where I think interjecting a dose of social media would be invaluable? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post and I'll offer up some ideas.