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The Supply Chain Meets Social Business

Complex business processes like the supply chain aren't what most people associate with social business. With so much focus on social media and marketing, most enterprises prioritize front-end social goals that touch customers. This is true even for companies that have an enterprise-wide social strategy or have adopted sophisticated capabilities like social analytics to track and better understand social behavior.

But looking at the explosion of commerce and the shift to pervasive mobile and cloud-first approaches, the social impact on business processes seems inevitable.

In fact, a recent IBM enterprise social adoption study found that while integrating social aspects into business processes may still be an ambitious goal for most companies, pioneers in social adoption are looking to this advanced entry point to streamline and open processes to make them inherently social where possible, to touch customers, employees, partners and suppliers.

How are they doing it?
Pioneers are tackling business processes in several clusters -- each aimed at accomplishing specific goals and business benefits.

Supply chain management
Reducing costs is one of the primary goals of adopting social in business processes including the supply chain -- connecting players from Procurement to Manufacturing, to update and share real-time information in order to more effectively manage the supply chain. How are companies tracking the effectiveness of their investments? Though many are still figuring it out, revenue, cost reduction and process improvement surface as the primary metrics to keep an eye on.

Business process management
Everyone from the CEO to the CFO is involved in assessing and selecting the right tools to improve the speed and effectiveness of business processes. The range of applications include Accounting, Payroll, Governance, Risk, and Compliance. How does social factor into these applications? If social features are part of the apps, they are selected as the default state for use. 43% of companies surveyed already set their company systems to default to social capabilities.

Sales software
Increasing sales and qualified leads is another reason more companies are looking to make their business processes more social. Apps that provide valuable insights into prospects/lead identification, or predictive technologies indicating propensity to buy can all have social built-in, changing the way organizations work. This also extends to workforce performance and analytics, using social data to streamline processes.

While it may not seem obvious now, embedding social DNA into critical business processes will become a new and profound part of the social journey for many enterprises.

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