Social Media Drives B2B Collaborative Efforts in the Supply Chain

Business to consumer (B2C) social networks lay the groundwork for successful collaboration in business to business (B2B) environments


With the advent of mass media, the slew of virtual tools available for supply chain executives to communicate is endless—from email to blogs to Skype, Google Chat and more. And while most B2B companies are already utilizing social media, further analysis and understanding of its provided data and potential risks are areas which businesses need to continue to examine and track.

For global consulting firm Protiviti, when it comes to the use of technology in audit processes, social media and cloud computing are among top concerns, according to their “2012 Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey.” The report cites that in addition to internal audit executives understanding these areas and their risks, they must also know “how their organizations are leveraging and controlling them in order to perform their jobs at a high level and add value to the organizations they serve.”

And while privacy is another obvious factor that many would consider before utilizing cloud-based social platforms, it is important to also understand the use of mobile applications and the relevant risks in accessing data via hand-held devices.

“At Protiviti, we recognize that social activities are introducing new ways to acquire customers,” said Hedges. “But when it comes to the privacy and security of these platforms, it’s about really understanding the terms with mobile applications and social. Mobile apps are an extension of social media—they are just another way to connect and collaborate. And it comes down to really making sure that people understand ‘is there private information actually stored on the mobile device? If not, where is that data stored? Is it on a server that can be accessed via the cloud?’ Some platforms have less security than others. There are inherent risks in the platforms themselves and what it was designed to do that auditors and others need to be aware of as well.”

With its RA.Pid Supplier Risk Profile, Business Intelligence as a Service (BIAS) provider Rosslyn Analytics, New York, N.Y., enables finance, procurement and supply chain organizations to evaluate, monitor and mitigate supplier risks in real time in five business days.

And while the overall crux of the platform is to provide data services and analytics, it uses its RA.DAR engine to stream data through an automated process. And just like Facebook users are notified when a “friend” posts a new comment to their profile, when a risk profile changes within Rosslyn’s RA.Pid platform, all users that have exposure to that risk profile are notified immediately through an alert mechanism, confirmed Charles Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Rosslyn Analytics.

“When we automatically extract data from a client, all of the details of that client get pushed up into the RA.Pid platform,” explained Clark. “RA.DAR gets to work just like LinkedIn gets to work with one’s name. Change your name to the name of a supplier and it ensures that the name is spelled correctly before associating that with a unique identifier. So just like one’s name which is tagged, we tag every single supplier, commodity and every single unit of relevant information before associating that information with all of the other information we have internally and externally.”

Overcoming supplier risk

To better manage privacy concerns and supplier risk, a number of supply chain service providers offer their own internal cloud platforms for customers to communicate more privately with other industry executives.

Basware’s Alusta B2B platform for e-invoice and purchase to pay (P2P) transactions enables buyers and suppliers to communicate via this network, making open collaborative business commerce a reality for organizations of all sizes. Additionally, it enables real-time visibility of what is happening with any transaction, interaction or relationship which gives each party the ability to manage any disputes that arise and handle immediately.

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