10th Annual IBX Purchasing Executive Summit Keynote Focuses on Social Media’s Influence on the Purchasing World

Posted on July 29, 2010

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When I was asked to both speak at as well as moderate the 10th Annual IBX Purchasing Executive Summit in Stockholm in early October, it represented what is quickly becoming a busy fall speaking schedule that will also take me to places such as the United Kingdom and British Columbia.

The focus of my Keynote will be my latest book “So Act Already – The Unsociable Business of Social Networks,” and how social media is influencing the world of procurement from both a technical as well as relationship building perspective.

In this regard, Washington Dispatch No. 7: Roundtable Discussion on Transparency and Technology, which was an excerpt from the white paper that came about as a result of the Transparency in Government Procurement roundtable discussion at the end of April in Washington, provided a highlight as to social media’s growing importance.

Featuring a guest panel that included the former CIO of the US Federal Government, Karen Evans, IACCM Founder and CEO Tim Cummins, 30 year public sector veteran and author of the seminal Towards Tesco paper Colin Cram, and Washington-based expert author Judy Bradt, social media was viewed as an ideal vehicle to address a number of challenges.

Specifically, the question surrounding the effective utilization of technology to “build the collaborative business relationships that leverages improving skill sets and maximizes service delivery.”

According to Bradt, the foundations for addressing the above challenges are already in place and especially strong in the United States, as demonstrated by the recent announcement by the DoD that they were “formally encouraging the use of social media” through what they refer to as a “balanced social media policy.”

The DoD decision is without a doubt, very interesting given past tendencies on the part of both public and private sector enterprises to either limit or restrict outright employee access to social media during business hours.  This change of heart according to Bradt, will further enhance what she referred to as an already “rich business culture” that “based on the power of existing associations to bring stakeholders together” will further strengthen the needed relationships and open the required channels of collaboration within the public sector procurement world.

Bradt’s views certainly have a great deal of merit as web-based “technologies” such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and services such as Twitter are platforms within which a growing number of buyers and vendors are beginning to interact.  What is telling is that some of these vendors are actually looking beyond the communicative advantages of the group development and blogging venues associated with social media, and are extending the functional capabilities of their core solutions through a direct social media interface.

In an ironic twist, free or low-cost social media collaboration platforms may very well become the transformational bridge between the costly ERP-centric type applications of the past, and the steadily emerging on-demand SaaS solutions as a result of their dramatically reduced costs and shortened implementation periods.

This of course falls perfectly in line with Karen Evans’ assessment that government can no longer “buy products,” but should instead focus on acquiring “services and relationships.”

While the IBX event is an invitation only conference, we are working at gaining the necessary permission to broadcast a number of the live keynote addresses (beyond mine of course), through the PI Window on Business, which is a featured show on the Blog Talk Radio Network.

Stay tuned for further updates leading up to the conference.

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