Forrester: Social networking will change supplier relations

Web 2.0 will revolutionize collaboration with IT suppliers, Forrester has predicted.

Web 2.0 will revolutionize collaboration with IT suppliers, Forrester has predicted.

Christine Ferrusi Ross, VP at the analyst firm, said the young people entering work were bringing with them a new culture, and an expectation of using social networking tools.

"The 'millennials' are flexible, even overconfident, and they bring a new attitude," she told Computerworld UK at the Forrester Services and Sourcing Forum in London last week. "Thirty eight percent of them use social computing each day, compared to 13 percent of the rest."

This is changing how businesses make use of Web 2.0, which in turn changes how they discuss strategy with suppliers and come up with ideas, she said.

Businesses could take advantage of these developments by collaborating in more interesting and potentially more productive ways with their suppliers, she said.

"There's now room for more innovation and flexibility," she told Computerworld UK. "Previously people have sometimes been a bit 'command and control' with suppliers."

Not all executives would be "enamored" with the idea, she said, but examples of social networking in use at work could help chief information officers and section managers highlight the benefits.

One European pharmaceutical company was attempting to use a new document management system, she said, but had found staff preferred a Wikipedia-like online system instead.

Mail firm UPS posts staff information "in Wiki format, but on a private network", she said, and Swiss construction company Implenia used Second Life to test some environments and reactions to construction.

Concerns remained over the security of information and the responsibility of staff in controlling data when it is on new platforms, she said, but companies adopting Web 2.0 effectively would define clear policies and checks on its use.

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