Zycus Horizon Dispatch 6 – Dawn Evans on Social Media and Procurement

At Zycus Horizon this morning, Dawn Evans woke everyone up (literally) by making us stand up, stretch and then, ironically, turn over or off our smartphones before she started her presentation on social media and procurement. Dawn does a great job relating procurement to the everyday – something I’ve aspired to do personally, but always come up short. By drawing analogies between the rise of Facebook, greater choice in healthcare delivery and other examples, she attempted to shake up the audience that disruptive change is real and we need to be ready.

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Dawn then launched into the core of her presentation on the relation of social media and procurement, suggesting, among other areas, that procurement use social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) to help drive areas such as demand forecasting, supply chain monitoring, sharing best practices, building market intelligence, peer engagement and supplier collaboration. Among her key tips:

  • Spend 15 minutes in the morning (and night) using social media to get comfortable with it
  • Use Google+ to segment the people you follow
  • Use social media to highlight supplier wins
  • Snoop on your suppliers on Glassdoor – see how they treat their employees
  • Use Google+, Yammer and Salesforce Chatter to share best practices
  • Check out Procurious and CorporateBrainz (new social networks for procurement)
  • Follow key suppliers on Twitter

This fly-by just skimmed the surface of what Dawn covered, which I’m sure she would share if you drop her a line (@SIGinsights). Dawn is convincing (no doubt) of the rise of social media and procurement. But call me a skeptic generally (not because of her). I started one of the first blogs in this sector. And I now just consider it to be “media” rather than “social media.”

In my view, the average procurement person thinks of Instagram and does not consider the impact of photos of a supplier facility showing up or consumer products that failed because of poor supplier quality, but rather making sure their kids do not do anything incriminating (if they know it at all) with their stream. LinkedIn? LinkedIn is not social media anymore … it is the new operating system for recruiting and other related activities. Twitter is a wildcard. I’ll give Dawn that. But the use cases for procurement so far are not yet proven other than simply staying on top of things – good in and of itself, mind you.

Perhaps Dawn and I actually agree more than disagree. But I see social media (or aspects of it) as already being absorbed into the mainstream – and the rest are outliers that help more with good parenting of kids than corporate spend parenting. At least at this stage…

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