Social Media and Procurement: Get Ready for a Serious Shake Up (Part 3)

In our latest installment of the role social media can play in procurement (click here and here for other recent coverage), I'll share some of the highlights from CVM Solution's Jon Bovit, who posted recently on about using social networks to manage suppliers. In the column, Jon opines that "supplier managers should consider the advantages of innovations such as social networking to more quickly and easily locate, capture and track the information they need to mitigate supplier risk and better manage supplier performance by adding social networking to their everyday interactions with colleagues and suppliers."

As an example, he suggests considering the role of specialized social networking technologies, including's chatters service which "extends existing supplier management solutions with many applications critical to supplier management success, including supplier risk, compliance and performance management." Incidentally, Jon probably should have disclosed that his company has a vested interest in's platform given that CVM has re-architected to take advantage of capabilities like this, but regardless, the example is quite intriguing.

Jon notes that Chatters and supplier management tools can enable procurement organizations to "combine external risk data feeds, survey results, dynamic scoring rules, financial risk assessments and threaded Chatter discussions" together. For example, "People who manage supplier relationships can use Chatter to subscribe to posts from individual suppliers, or groups of suppliers, in order to receive information from them directly and in real time regarding any changes that might affect the supplier relationship. Supplier managers can choose to 'follow' -- just as they do at home in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter -- any supplier information stored and be notified as data changes automatically. This enables them to see changes they are interested in automatically."

Without question, the integration of supplier management platforms like CVM Solutions into social networking capabilities like Chatter -- not to mention supplier management tools like Rollstream which were built from the ground-up in more of a social collaboration and community manner than most procurement-focused applications -- is fascinating indeed. But I'm still waiting for a killer example of a true social networking use-case in practice across a company, rather than in isolation. Just as we reoriented ourselves in recent years to focusing as much on managing the world outside of four walls as within from a supplier management and sourcing perspective, we'll need to see a similar evolution with social media tools within the procurement function to move to a point where crossing the social media chasm will be within reach.

Frankly I have no doubt that time is coming. And probably sooner than we think.

Jason Busch

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