And as the cloud and such social and collaborative environments continue to enable users with data analytics and communicative networks, they will need to understand how to effectively utilize them to not only grow their own business but add improved functionality to the global supply chain.
“Now, you can have multiple networks of external resources, functionalities and ecosystems that can seamlessly integrate with internal networks of people—the synergies are huge,” added Clark.
As both public and private environments continue to push collaborative efforts in supply chain forward, businesses will need to assess which strategies work best for them in building their growth.
“The whole business here is about identifying how you use the more public platforms to drive people to your private ones,” said Hedges. “From a B2B perspective, Google+ really tries to keep supply chain relationships going in between transactions, sales and product delivery. But it’s an outpost, just like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn—they are all outposts to drive people back to your own site, to your own platform, so that people understand more about your company.”
It’s about leveraging the best of social media from the outside and incorporating it into solutions internally, Cohen confirmed.
“CFO’s want the different parts of procurement, accounts payable, treasury and sourcing to all speak to one another,” he said. “Social collaboration and networking will help that.”
The power behind collaborative B2B networks
Be it social platforms or collaborative networks, the supply chain is embracing a whole new way of connecting key executives together—from manufacturers to distributors to finance and even warehouse management executives. And they must leverage such capabilities and understand the data provided to manage their processes and the global supply chain for future growth.
“Companies understand that the use of social media is going to be required in the future,” said Champa. “There is a gigantic pent-up demand to improve based on real customer connection. But the capability to translate that data into the supply chain doesn’t yet exist to the extent it needs to. In order to get there we have to move from social media to social technology to pass that onto organizations.”