Even though I believe D&B's new Mobile browser interface for its Supply Risk Management applications (see posts here and here) will become a useful and essential tool for those who are on-the-go and need to consume information about their supply base as it becomes available (and in a highly efficient manner), I also think that the device toolset only begins to scratch the surface of what is to come for smartphones and devices in the future. What might future mobile use cases and product ideas bring to D&B Supplier Risk Manager Mobile and related tools? Here are a few ideas:
- Imagine taking advantage of location-specific services in an iPhone and sending automated alerts based on user location during a supplier site visit about the overall health, violations, etc. of a specific supplier (and even potentially a specific supplier site).
- Consider the ability to use location-specific services to search for DBAs, aliases, etc. For example, what if I'm in China, and the mobile app tells me that a single facility is operating under multiple company names, trading companies, etc.? This could provide useful fodder to know during a site visit, audit, etc.
- Think about the potential to integrate a real-time SMS alerting system into a device interface (or simply the SMS interface) for the most critical of all alerts or design an app that prioritizes the most important alerts and notifies the user as a priority screen. For example, I've configured the A&P breaking news to send important alerts to my iPhone (I get Spend Matters comments this way as well). Non-IM push notification tools such as Prowl would be easy to leverage in use cases for D&B and other supplier alerts.
- Ponder how to incorporate device visuals or the camera/video camera in new and useful ways into the application (e.g., appending photographs to a supplier audit, using visual recognition technology for key executives at a client so that you know a specific executive that may have been arrested or had a personal judgment/lien filed, etc.)
- Take the previous suggestion a step further and think about the Yelp-Monacle type applications of video overlay on top of supplier locations, plants, etc. Imagine the ability to see quality details (e.g., PPM, on-time delivery, escapes, etc.) for certain facilities or even lines within facilities simply by taking a visual of the location and then having a heads-up overlay present the details on top.
I admit a few of these possibilities are probably a bit out there. But the potential for D&B and others to create distinctly mobile apps targeted towards the traveling procurement/supply chain/finance user tasked with monitoring and managing supply risk are fascinating indeed. So many current and planned mobile applications in the procurement area simply represent workflow/approval and status check/search types of opportunities. In contrast, supplier management and supply risk management, by virtue of the importance of having the right information at the right time when working with/visiting suppliers as well as location specific services, presents a much larger opportunity to take advantage of mobile computing in entirely new ways.
What do you think?