Social Networking Comes to Procurement?
I’ve been asked several times over the past year by internal colleagues and various vendors whether I see demand for “Facebook” type social networking functionality in procurement applications. My response is usually something along the lines of, “You’ve got to be kidding!” even though I love Facebook and I use it all the time to keep up with personal relationships.
So why the poo-hooing you ask? Having spent 13 years in the field in procurement, I can tell you that “my kind” are often curmudgeonly, unsocial people. Consider the job of the procurement professional and you’ll understand why. You typically have a lot of buying power, and as a result, you get throngs of people continually trying to flatter you, get your time, and be your “friend.” It’s well established fact a salesperson who remembers your children’s names and asks you how your weekend went is more likely to win an order from you that one that just gets down to business. We are human after all. But after a few years of continuous “friendly gestures” from those throngs of salespeople, many procurement folks get jaded. And should I mention the fact that I haven’t had a SINGLE end user client ask for this type of capability?
That is, until last week. I couldn’t believe my ears! The client asked for social networking functionality, although the orientation was internal, not with suppliers. They were seeking something to facilitate interactions among distributed, global groups, and the idea of teammate pictures, interests and contact data was attractive.
And actually, I found a reason myself to think about social networking. I’ve been upgrading my vendor interaction record-keeping and I have noticed that gathering data such as titles, background and even pictures . . oh did I really say pictures? Yes I did . . .and having this data handy when I get on the phone with that vendor is really cool because I can actually visualize the person I am speaking with! Or at least I get a view of what the person looked like ten years ago ha ha ha.
But all kidding aside, these are exactly the types of triggers I’ve been waiting for to consider thoughts of social networking in procurement with more than a sigh. Facebook, here we come!
1Choice Solutions, a North American reseller for Dolphin contract management software, announced an extensive list of new features designed specifically for the US Federal FAR and DFAR contracting process support. New features include contract request forms and contract amendment management.
Vinimaya released a new product to help clients optimized e-catalog search. Vinimaya SmartRank Analytics provides data on failed searches and allows procurement to prioritize search results.
Ariba announced that the Dana Farber Institute, a leading cancer research and treatment center, will utilize the SaaS-delivered Ariba® Contract Management™ solution to drive compliance with its contracting process and gain greater visibility into and control over its spend. Ariba also announced that it will offer its contract management solution on the Salesforce.com Force platform. The press release emphasizes a sell-side use case for the solution. Limited product availability is scheduled for the first half of 2011.
Rent-A-Center, Inc., operator of 3,000 North American, company-owned outlets renting major consumer electronics, appliances, computers, and furniture, announced that it had contracted with Coupa for e-procurement and Emptoris for contract management for an integrated spend management solution. This creative combination supports functionality such as invoice match to contract.
Selectica announced that Zebra Technologies, a specialty digital printing and automatic identification solutions operating in more than 100 countries around the world, will be implementing its contract management solution for reseller, independent contractor and NDA agreements. According to the press release, Zebra will initially implement Selectica “in the cloud” – I see this as another sign of increasing acceptance of on-demand applications.
Another country announced the adoption of electronic bidding. This time it is Mongolia, and its project is supported by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Hiperos, a supply base management vendor we recently profiled, announced that Summit Partners has made an investment in its business. Summit Partners is a growth equity investor with notable software vendor investments such as Hyperion Software, GoldenGate Software, McAfee, and Postini.
iMANY released version 7.5 of its ContractSphere® 7.5 Platform. This release includes enhancements in iMANY® Contract Manager, including streamlined authoring, management and storage of enterprise contract documents with improved Microsoft Word fidelity and a contract creation wizard.
There were two important acquisitions in the industry: Emptoris announced the acquisition of Rivermine, a telecom spend management vendor; and SciQuest announced its purchase of strategic sourcing, SIM and diversity vendor AECsoft USA. Gartner research notes with analysis and advice is in the works for both of these deals.
Ecteon announced that Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa. chose the Contraxx Enterprise solution to manage purchasing agreements and property agreements. The software is slated to help increase efficiencies and reduce legal risks by ensuring a central contract repository.
Spend management solution provider Zycus announced that it is opening new offices in Paris, Ohio, Chicago and San Jose. In the press release, the vendor also reported that it is doubling the size of its global sales and marketing teams.
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