Thursday, 14 July 2016

What eSourcing can learn from social media

Over the last decade, social media has become ever more streamlined. From the creation of Facebook over 12 years ago, allowing individuals to represent themselves on a single page. The evolution of Twitter, limiting the number of characters that can be used in a single ‘tweet’ to 140. To the eventual creation of Tinder that matches couples based on their physical attraction to each other. Social media has revolutionised the way we socialise on a daily basis.

We have broken down social media into 6 main aspects that we believe are integral to the success of social media and what eSourcing can learn:

1. Engagement
2. Expanding networks
3. Ability to express opinions
4. Dissemble information
5. Sharing content
6. Create events

Aspects of Social Media

1. Engagement

Central to the success of any social media platform is its ability to engage users. Engagement in social media is measured by how much and how often others interact with each other and their content. This is influenced by content, usability of the system and its reach.

Successful SaaS sSourcing providers are typically easy to use and have the ability for suppliers as well as hosts to use the application anywhere in the world. Ideally an eSourcing platform would allow users to create content, potentially increasing the use of the software for enjoyment. In the future there is potential for further gamification as an avenue to explore to encourage user engagement.

2. Expanding networks

Social media platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook have the ability to bring together contacts from around the world. In recent years you can expand your network and connect with individuals who you don't know but share a common interest such as sports teams, universities and previous job history.

Most eSourcing platforms are similarly moving down this route to connect hosts with more suppliers and also hosts with other hosts. Ideally an eSourcing system would have the ability for hosts to expand their networks of suppliers. An example of how you could do this would be a database of suppliers that would allow new hosts to invite other suppliers to their network. Thereby using the SaaS application to expand networks and find new contacts.

3. Ability to express opinions

Integral to any modern social media platform is the ability for a user to express their opinion over a particular topic. This can be done in the now popular method of ‘liking’ content.

In this case eSourcing platforms typically don’t have an option of expressing opinions due to the limited content that is shared between hosts and suppliers. However, could platforms integrate this ability as an alternative way to gain additional feedback on tenders.

4. Dissemble information - Twitter via 140 characters

Twitter has created an incredible ability to disassemble content into 140 characters or less. By limiting the number of characters in a ‘tweet’ it allows users to easily process information in small chunks.

eSourcing as with other industries are still looking for ways to further condense information into smaller forms, however the development of visuals over the last few years has gone further to dissembling information into easy to read content. Twitter has been used by past clients to advertise their tenders to a wider audience and then is certainly more scope for this.

5. Sharing Content

Social media platforms have advanced in recent years to make the process of sharing content both straightforward and effective. By using already existent content and distributing it to other users, it both lessens the need for new content and encourages or develops the relationships between users.

A form of sharing content is already being used in eSourcing through templates, guides, forums, and just in the process of general tenders. We foresee this to increase as eSourcing becomes even more integral to businesses, especially with respect to the community as a whole sharing ideas and experience.

6. Create events

Events are being used by social media applications to interact and develop relationships between users. Whether it’s scheduling your social calendar with ‘Events’ on Facebook or reacting to real-time events with ‘trends’ on Twitter.

eSourcing systems such as Market Dojo already use events such as Reverse eAuctions as a method of interaction between users. However the ability to show events taking place by other users and what is going on for other suppliers to join might be beneficial to create interaction and ultimately success.. Obviously there are issues with confidentiality and security that need to be upheld.


Social media has many aspects that are being used in eSourcing, while there are some aspects such as the dissembling of information into a very limited number of characters that have yet to be adapted. Here is a breakdown of different features that we believe eSourcing can adapt from social media.

What can eSourcing learn from social media?

  1. Gamification for the software, to make eSourcing ‘enjoyable’
  2. Making eSourcing software ‘easy-to-use’
  3. Software that generates simple suggestions on how to increase success
  4. Open databases of suppliers & hosts, to allow expansion of networks
  5. Allow for expression of opinions and easy interaction between all users
  6. Dissembling complex information into visuals or limited characters
  7. Ability for users to easily share content amongst themselves
  8. Possibilities of increasingly open auctions that allow other hosts to view and participate in 

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!


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