Step 1 to Procurement Social Collaboration: Provide the Platform

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Procurement organizations work as a team — or, at least, they should. Sure, each member of the organization may have specific duties, but when it comes tacking a specific sourcing project — say, finding a new supplier — collaboration is good. Buyers can gain feedback from other members of the procurement organization and hear different opinions on the pros and cons of a possible new vendor. And they can begin to structure “unstructured” conversation, which can be an invaluable supplement to the usual supply and supplier market research gained from traditional means.

Fostering this sort of collaboration should be a priority — it often is for company leaders nowadays and is common outside of procurement. However, teams need some sort of platform where this collaboration can occur. A recent Harvard Business Review report pointed to companies leveraging effective technology tools such as Slack that allow open discussion threads and sharing of information.

This collaboration model is also something SpendLead aiming to offer, too. Buyers can use SpendLead to research and source new vendors as well as share information gathered through this discovery process with colleagues via forums on the site. Buyers can create their own forum on SpendLead and invite colleagues to join the discussion. Here, buyers of a procurement organization can share content from potential vendors, leave comments for colleagues and post other relevant information.

Having a social forum like this is necessary, as the sourcing process is a team effort, said Fabrice Saporito, founder and CEO of SpendLead.

“As a buyer, you are not alone to make a decision,” he said. “Never.”

Whatever information a single buyer finds on a potential vendor, including videos and PDFs, can be shared with the rest of the buying team. This means the discovery process and information sharing process of a sourcing project can be done within the SpendLead platform — as a complement to traditional systems of record (e.g., ERP/MRP, e-procurement) or procurement systems of engagement (e.g., e-sourcing or supplier management tools).

Collaboration tools like this won’t be just “nice-to-have” features in the future. The workplace is changing, workforces are becoming more remote and mobile, and younger generations are demanding more social collaboration in their jobs. Forbes recently pointed out that the future of work will be a “great deal more open, transparent and collaborative” than today. Facebook is even creating a “Facebook at Work” network for workplaces to collaborate on.

Technology is helping teams work smarter and be more effective. We have been talking about the benefits of social collaboration within procurement on Spend Matters for years as well. As Jason Busch recently wrote, “social collaboration is finally taking off in procurement.”

It’s likely to stick around, too.

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