We all hear about the rise of social collaboration in business beyond just posting our résumés on LinkedIn. Many of us are likely using at least a few social tools in our personal lives — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Even more are using social tools built on peer-to-peer and crowdsourcing-type models. For example, UberX or UberPool have become ubiquitous as crowdsourcing a method of getting from Point A to Point B using peers rather than professionals.
Yet in business — and especially within procurement — social collaboration has been largely limited to the use of LinkedIn or rudimentary collaboration capabilities built into select procurement technologies. Without getting into all the benefits and use cases of diving head first into social collaboration in procurement (see our related posts on the topic here, here, here and here), there’s the broader question of how to encourage social engagement generally among internal peers, external peers and suppliers.
I’ve got a few suggestions on the topic. In fact, I’ve got five:
- Get to know LinkedIn beyond the basics. Experiment in using it to track supply risk based on changes to employee count; use it to stay on top of news and peer-to-peer best practice sharing via your feed and groups (much like Twitter, but in certain cases, even more targeted).
- Suggest to every employee to select three resources to experiment with around social interaction (internal or external). Extra credit: Share learnings via an internal social collaboration tool.
- Ask your software vendors how they can support social collaboration in current or planned releases. Start a dialogue with them on it. You’ll be surprised by capabilities planned for future releases and, in certain cases, capabilities you might not be aware of today.
- Make a point of crowdsourcing ideas at least once a month. This could be as specific as asking what peers think about the given direction of a commodity market or more broad — for example, ideas for taking cost out of an existing category beyond just negotiating unit cost reduction.
- Join free networks today including Procurious and SpendLead. Each enables different types of collaboration.
Getting started with social collaboration in procurement requires taking a plunge — and encouraging others to do so, too. Sometimes the best way to get started is to inspire others about what to do with concrete ideas and recommendations to start.
Disclosure: Jason Busch, Pierre Mitchell and Peter Smith are investors in Spend Lead.