Over the past few weeks, I’ve caught up with two upstart players specializing in the social collaboration sector for procurement. These two providers could not be more different. One, Procurious, is very much a private Facebook/LinkedIn-type model for procurement practitioners to network with themselves and share ideas, practices and more. The other, SpendLead, is centered on managing new types of supplier information and driving procurement interaction with a firm’s current and potential suppliers, as well as and supplier interaction with current and potential buyers.
In reality, while Procurious and SpendLead are completely different in focus today, they are similar in that they work by drawing out the often-introverted procurement community and facilitating interactions and different types of relationships to either start or grow based on social engagement. In discussions with both providers and my own research, I learned that the level of interaction is finally starting to see step-change improvement.
In Procurious’ case, the procurement social network recently hit a significant milestone in the number of users. (I’ll wait for them to share the exact number.) Traffic also appears to be increasing materially for the site as well, putting it among some of the media sites in the sector (if you believe the Alexa rankings). I can vouch that interaction does seem higher on the site based on a recent cursory scan of activity. Very impressive.
SpendLead is in a similar camp, although it’s attempting to put itself in the middle of commerce rather than just community. It has also evolved its value proposition from one of supplier interaction and discovery to broader stakeholder and supplier engagement, networking and collaboration. The user experience is built on a supplier-centric intelligence feed that combines buyer reviews, crowd sourced content about vendors and, soon (Q1), external market intelligence. It’s more audacious in scope compared with Procurious, but the early feedback — the firm only launched during the final part of 2015 — is encouraging, and sign-ups and interaction are growing.
While Procurious and SpendLead have very different value propositions, one thing is becoming clearer among both: individuals within procurement (as well as teams) are willing to dip their toes in the social collaboration waters because they feel comfortable with the paradigms that are already established in their home and business lives (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter). In short, social interaction in procurement, either with peers — internal or external — or suppliers, is not perceived as risky anymore. In fact, we could argue social is perceived as less risky than selecting and deploying traditional procurement technology. And that’s a huge shift in thinking.
Check them out for yourself. It’s a quick sign-up process for either site.